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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.

Customer Service: 503-823-7770

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

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MEDIA ADVISORY 06/08/2017: Saturday Construction on NW Cornell Road to Impact Traffic

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PORTLAND, OR — A water main installation project on Northwest Cornell Road between Northwest Skyline Boulevard and the Audubon Society will impact traffic this Saturday, June 10.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, portions of the westbound lane of Northwest Cornell Road will be closed and flaggers will direct traffic through the work zone. Work zones will be limited to 1000 feet at a time.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution while driving through the construction zone. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site.

Lewis Elementary Students Learn About the Bull Run Watershed

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Lewis Elementary Second Graders Learn About Portland's Water System

On Tuesday, May 16, students in Ms. Brenan’s second grade class learned about Portland’s water system from our Maintenance and Construction Director Ty Kovatch.

The class had been studying watersheds and the importance of protecting them. The students learned about the Bull Run Watershed and how it supplies nearly one million people in our region with the best drinking water in the world.

The class was enthusiastic about what they learned, gaining great appreciation for how water makes it all the way from the forest to the faucets in their home, as well as to every fire hydrant in the city.

The class wrote about what they learned and also drew pictures for the Water Bureau.

Here are just a few of the thoughts they shared.

“I think there are better names for dams than Dam 1 and Dam 2.” — Shanti

“Thank you for sharing the pictures, especially the one with the main break and the boat going down the street.” — Lily

“I now know so much about water and cannot wait to share it with other people!” — Sylvie

“Now I will pay more attention to the Portland Water Bureau. I was really interested in how the Bull Run Watershed’s forest can filter the water we drink.” — Aurelio

“I hope you can come back when I’m in 3rd grade. It was so fun having you visit. I learned a lot about the water and where it comes from.” — Katie

“I am fascinated about how the Bull Run Watershed filters our water. I wonder why they named them Dam 1 and Dam 2?” — Lynn

“The water is so good that it tastes like the best liquid ever!!” — Drake

“We can’t live without water.” — Cate

“The Bull Run Watershed sounds amazing.  But there is one thing I am wondering about, how many gallons of water in one year?” — Anika

Join Our Team: Water Supply & Treatment Manager (Water Quality Manager)

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If you're interested in joining an award-winning public utility where employees thrive on the pride of delivering a life-essential product with world class customer service, the Portland Water Bureau might be just the place for you.

The Water Bureau is a recognized leader in the utility industry. We've achieved this success by investing in the very best people and empowering them to find new and better ways to meet our customer's needs.

The Water Bureau currently employs approximately 560 people. All current job postings with the City of Portland are posted online, and updated weekly. We are an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Current Opportunity at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Water Supply & Treatment Manager (Water Quality Manager)  Full Time  $7,990.00 - $10,826.00 Monthly Mon. 6/26/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time Apply Here!

All completed applications for this position must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on the closing date and hour of this recruitment. E-mailed and/or faxed applications will not be accepted.

Learn More About the Water Bureau

Questions 

For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

Women in Trades: Meet Sarah Poet, Utility Worker II

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Each year, the Women in Trades Career Fair brings together tradeswomen from across the Portland metro area who volunteer to help girls and young women discover the fun and life-challenging opportunities of a career in the trades.

This year’s career fair was held last month on May 19 and 20.

For more than 13 years, women from the Portland Water Bureau have been a key part of this unique event with the goal of promoting and supporting the advancement and employment of women in the trades.

Today we’ll meet Sarah Poet, a Water Bureau tradeswoman and volunteer at this year’s Women in Trades Career Fair.

Portland Water Bureau construction workerWhat is your role at the Water Bureau?

My official title is utility worker II in the Maintenance and Construction group. I also teach first aid CPR for the City, drive the tour bus for the Bull Run Watershed Tours several times a month in the summer, and I fill in for emergency dispatch as needed. [Editor’s note: Emergency Dispatch is the group that send out calls to our maintenance crews for water emergencies.]

How did you first get involved in the trades?

The short answer is that a friend at the Water Bureau let me know about a job opening that was available, so I applied and was hired.

The longer story is that I volunteered and worked for the U.S. Forest Service and City and State fire agencies for 23 years. I was a hot shot and deputy state fire marshal, conducting fire investigations across the state. I married and quit my jobs to raise my kids.

After divorcing, I needed to re-enter the workforce. From my past work in the fire service, I was used to being wet and muddy and working long hours. This was during the Great Recession, so it wasn’t easy finding work. But eventually I found a job at the Water Bureau and have been here ever since.

Many people ask me why I didn’t get back to the fire service. The reason is that, as a firefighter, you sometimes have to drop everything at a moment’s notice to go across the state for weeks at a time. Your schedule is unpredictable and that wouldn’t work for raising a kid.

The Maintenance and Construction work is more predictable, offers me good pay and benefits, which is perfect for me and my family.

Portland Water Bureau utility workerDescribe your typical day for us. What does that look like?

My typical day begins at 6:45 a.m.

I come in to our Interstate Facilities building, meet in the auditorium for daily announcements, then I get a daily log sheet that tells me where I’m going and what I’m doing that day. Even though we have a log sheet, what I do on any given day can change at a moment’s notice, depending on maintenance needs in the field.

I’m assigned to the Outer Northwest district and I usually work on one or two jobs each day. I do everything from drive a dump truck—hauling rock or other materials—to locating utilities like power and gas by using my spade to carefully dig under the marked utility locates to ensure they are accurate so the backhoe can safely excavate around them.

What are the barriers that you see as the largest impediments to more women working in the trades? Has that changed over time?

Maintenance and construction is a rough environment, and not everyone is cut out for it. You have to work hard and understand that men and women work differently together. Women tend to be thoughtful and communicative, while many men just want to get the job done. It’s a challenge to find the right balance sometimes.

How do you see fellow tradeswomen supporting each other in the work you do?

I see women supporting each other a lot, just by talking to one another and “comparing notes.” You quickly find other women to confide in and it’s nice to know other women have your back in the field.

What or who is your greatest professional inspiration?

When I worked for state fire marshal Nancy Orr, she brought in a ton of opportunities., including the chance to work on law and policy. She also promoted me to Fire Leadership Academy training.

What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in your field?

Prepare for hard work. Prepare to get wet and muddy. Prepare yourself mentally for long hours and the labor that goes with it.

If you take care of yourself and understand that some days will be rough, and other days can be a lot of fun, it can be a really rewarding career.

Mother with young childYou probably get to interact a lot with the public when you’re out in the field. What’s a story or two that stands out to you?

Yes!

I was helping dig a hydrant to replace it off NE 62nd Avenue and Glisan. It was a nice day, and people were walking with their kids with strollers and they began to stop and check out what was going on. People love to see how we do our jobs. Little kids especially love to look down and see what we’re up to. SO we take the time to show them where the hydrants are connected, and what we have to do to get it out. Kids love it!

People can be very generous when you’re out in the field working hard. I’ve had people give us fresh fruit from their yard!

What else do you want to share about work and/or your personal life (family, hobbies, etc.)?

I have a six-year-old son named Gracen and a nine-year-old son named Michael. Together, we care for a golden retriever named Daisy. I like to hunt and fish, and just went hunting with my son for the first time last year.

How Our North Interstate Ecoroof Saves You Money and Looks Good Doing It

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When we designed our new Interstate Maintenance and Operations Center building, among the sustainable features included in the plans was a 22,500-square-foot vegetative roof, called a green roof or ecoroof.

The vegetative roof offers two key benefits over a traditional roof:

  1. It improves how the roof manages the stormwater that falls on it.
  2. It protects the roof and extends its service life.

It’s been two years since our North Interstate facilities buildings were complete, so let’s check in and see if the roof is delivering on these expected benefits.

Ecoroof on the N Interstate Portland Water Bureau Facilities buildingOur Ecoroof Lightens the Load of Our City’s Stormwater System

Based on precipitation data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), for the two rainy seasons Portland has experienced since the ecoroof was installed, approximately 1,430,634 gallons of rain water have been “treated” by the vegetative roof.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services includes green roofs as approved stormwater management facilities because much of the rain that falls on them is captured by the soil and plants growing on the vegetative roof.

The water that is eventually shed from a vegetative roof does so in a much more gradual fashion as the water must first filter through the ecoroof system. Reducing the speed that rainwater moves is a major factor in relieving strain on the city’s wastewater treatment facilities.

In addition to slowing down how fast water sheds from our Interstate facility's roof, the vegetative roof also filters organic debris and some chemical pollutants from stormwater runoff. This filtering action improves the overall quality of the stormwater before it enters the sewer system and is treated as wastewater.

Based on USGS precipitation data, the vegetative roof has already “treated” an amount of water equal to 35,764 baths at 40 gallons per bath. That’s a lot of water!

Portland Water Bureau ecoroofEcoroofs Last Longer, Saving Portlanders Money

Did you know that a newly installed commercial roof has a functional life expectancy of 15 to 20 years?

The two reasons that cause a roof to fail over time are exposure to ultraviolet light and thermal cycling, which causes the expansion and contraction of the roof materials over the seasons.

An “extensive” vegetative roof, like the type installed at our North Interstate Facilitates building, covers more than 90 percent of the roof surface with three inches of lightweight soil and plants. Because of this, ultraviolet light exposure for the vast majority of the roof is reduced to zero.

Also, the soil and plants act as a blanket limiting the energy gain in the roof and minimizing the impacts of thermal cycling. Because the roof is protected by a cover of plants, the roof life expectancy may now be extended two times or more over the life of a traditional, uncovered roof.

“If the lifespan of the bureau’s roof is extended to 30 to 40 years from 15 to 20 years, that represents a significant savings to the Water Bureau over the life of the building,” notes Jon Crumrine of A-Tech/Northwest, Inc., the company that helped design and install our ecoroof.

The Results Are In!

And, after two years of service, we now have the data to begin examining and quantifying the benefits of our ecoroof.

With almost one-and-a-half million gallons of treated stormwater later, and a roof that is aging at half the usual rate, it’s safe to say that the vegetative roof is paying dividends or ratepayers and easing the burden of our City’s stormwater infrastructure.

Learn More About Our North Interstate Facilities LEED® Green Certification

The ecoroof is one of the many reasons our North Interstate Facilities were awarded with the LEED® Green Certification.

Read more about how this designation saves money, reduces costs, and lowers carbon emissions.

Interstate Maintenance and Operations Center