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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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What Do Pirates and Groundwater Have in Common?

Aquifer Adventure

Buried treasure!

Columbia South Shore Well FieldGroundwater from the Columbia South Shore Well Field is an important part of the drinking water supply for Portland and the metro region. Groundwater helps meet higher summer water demands and provides drinking water during emergencies or when Portland’s primary water source, the Bull Run Watershed, is not available. The well field also makes Portland’s water system resilient in the face of drought and climate uncertainty.

This question is asked every year at Aquifer Adventure, a family festival that celebrates both pirates and an important drinking water resource. This annual event, now in its 14th year, focuses on groundwater protection and water conservation, including tips and tools for use at home as well as fun activities for all ages.

Co-sponsored by the Portland Water Bureau and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Aquifer Adventure will be held on Saturday, September 16, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The free, all-ages festival will feature hands-on activities including a treasure hunt and tasty aquifer ice cream. What the heck is aquifer ice cream? You’ll have to find out for yourself!

Participants can also enjoy the wooded trail along the Columbia Slough before joining a canoeing tour of the slough. With its long reach of water trails, mountain views, and diverse wildlife, the slough is a vital asset to the community.

Aquifer Adventure is held each year at the Portland Water Bureau canoe launch at NE 166th Avenue and Airport Way in Portland. All activities at the event are free, and food items will be available for purchase.

Pirate dress, pirate lingo, and pirate swagger are highly encouraged.

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Cost: Free! No registration is required.
Location: Portland Water Bureau Canoe Launch at NE 166th and Airport Way, Portland, OR, 97230 (follow signs for parking)
Additional Information: Available at www.columbiaslough.org

Sept. 12 Update on the Eagle Creek Fire and Bull Run Watershed

September 12th Eagle Creek Fire Updates

The fire perimeter near the Bull Run did not change substantially overnight. The Eagle Creek Fire is 11 percent contained.

As of Sept. 12, 2017, based on infrared imagery data from today, the fire has burned approximately 100 to 150 acres inside the Bull Run Management Unit. The fire has not entered the actual Bull Run watershed drainage area. Current estimates tell us that less than one percent of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit has been burned at the northern edge. The Bull Run reservoirs and water supply infrastructure are not near the areas that are currently estimated to have been burned. Protecting the Bull Run is a top priority of the fire response.

Based on this data, the Portland Water Bureau has developed an updated fire perimeter map. Please check the map periodically for updates to the fire perimeter in relation to the Bull Run watershed.

The Water Bureau continues to monitor turbidity (measurement of sediment suspended in the water) in the Bull Run water source. These measurements continue to show low turbidity levels. The water continues to be safe to drink. In past fires near the watershed, falling ash did not have a measurable impact on turbidity. The bureau has not found any measurable water quality differences since the fire started. The bureau is planning for additional monitoring to further investigate any effects of the fire on water quality.  Results for the additional monitoring are expected back next week.

Weather will continue to be closely monitored for the next 48 hours as conditions continue to be dry and windy. The forecast for late Thursday, into Friday, shows a likelihood of west to east winds and the possibility of showers. There’s hope for more substantial precipitation nearly next week.

Keep referring to the Portland Water Bureau’s Frequently Asked Questions, which will be updated as new information becomes available. 

Sept. 13 Update on the Eagle Creek Fire and Bull Run Watershed

Bull Run Watershed update banner

The Eagle Creek Fire perimeter grew modestly overnight, with limited growth in the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit. The fire is 13 percent contained.

Based on this data, the Portland Water Bureau has developed an updated fire perimeter map. Please check this map periodically for updates on the fire perimeter in relation to the Bull Run Watershed.

As of Sept. 13, 2017, based on new infrared imagery data from very late Sept. 12, the fire has burned approximately 100 to 150 acres inside the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit, but not inside the actual Bull Run Watershed. Current estimates are that less than one percent of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit has been burned at the northern edge.

Protecting the Bull Run remains a top priority of the fire response. The Bull Run reservoirs and water supply infrastructure are not near the areas that are currently estimated to have been burned.

Winds are currently dry and from west to east. Forecasts predict a half inch to two inches of rain starting Sunday night and into next week through Wednesday. Should these rains come as predicted, they could improve fire conditions, although the fire is expected to continue burning even if the forecasted rains occur.

The Water Bureau continues delivering 100 percent Bull Run water. The Water Bureau is continuing its monitoring and has not seen measurable impacts from the fire. The water continues to be safe to drink. Samples for additional monitoring have been collected to further investigate any effects of the fire on water quality. Results of this additional monitoring are expected back next week.

Water Bureau Customer Service is Moving Oct. 6

Water Bureau Customer Service employeesOn Oct. 6, the Water Bureau’s customer service department will be moving to a new location.

New address: 111 SW Columbia St., Portland, OR 97204
Telephone: 503-823-7404
TriMet access: bus lines 38, 45, 55, 92, 96
Directions: Get customized travel directions (Google Maps)

Skip the Hassle: Sign Up for Autopay

What else could you be doing instead of paying your utility bill?

If you’d rather be spending your time doing something more fun than paying your utility bill over the phone or in person, sign up for AutoPay.

With AutoPay, you’ll never have to remember another utility bill payment again. That’s because AutoPay will automatically pay invoices on their due date from your credit card or by electronic check. After each bill is paid, you’ll receive an email confirmation of your transaction as each invoice is paid, automatically.

The Portland Building in downtown Portland, OregonWhy Is Customer Service Moving?

The Water Bureau’s Customer Service department currently serves customers from the Portland Building, next to City Hall in downtown Portland. Designed by Michael Graves and built in 1982 as administrative offices for the City of Portland, the Portland Building is an award-winning design of Post Modern architecture and is placed on the National Register of Historic Places as a building of “exceptional importance.” But the building currently faces problems with its structure, exterior, and operational systems that repairs alone cannot address.

In October 2015, City Council directed the Office of Management & Finance (OMF) to reconstruct the Portland Building. The project will be completed by 2020.

The City will create an adaptable building that will last 50-100 years, providing a productive work environment for employees and a welcoming space for community members.

More information is available about the Portland Building Reconstruction project on the OMF website.

Sept. 14 Update on the Eagle Creek Fire and Bull Run Watershed

Eagle Creek Fire and Bull Run Updates

The Eagle Creek Fire is 17 percent contained. Firefighting efforts are focused on protecting communities, infrastructure, and other values at risk. Protecting the Bull Run is a top priority of the fire response.

The already established fire in the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit continues to burn at a low intensity and creep through the ground fuels along the far northeast and northwest corners of the management unit, near Bell Creek. The fire is not in the watershed drainage. Unified Command tells us this growth was expected, resulting from a drying trend and winds that culminated Tuesday. Fuels responded as expected. The fire is expected to continue to creep along the northern edge of the watershed until significant precipitation occurs.

Based on infrared data as of Sept. 14, 2017, the Portland Water Bureau has developed an updated fire perimeter map. Please check the map periodically for updated maps on the fire perimeter in relation to the Bull Run watershed.

Unified command is responding by continuing to establish fire lines along existing roads within the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit to protect against a southward push from the main body of the fire. Because of the fuel type, topography, and elevation, Unified Command has a greater focus on preventing the fire from moving along the northwest perimeter of the management unit. There have been active helicopter water drops in the western portion of the fire on the management unit perimeter.

Today’s data from Unified Command tells us that the fire remains at approximately 100 to 150 acres inside the Bull Run Management Unit, but not inside the actual Bull Run watershed. Current estimates remain at less than one percent of the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit, affected along the northern boundary. The Bull Run reservoirs and water supply infrastructure are not near the areas that have burned.

The bureau continues to serve Bull Run water, which is being rigorously monitored and remains safe to drink.

Weather will continue to be closely tracked. Weather is predicted to remain cooler with higher relative humidity and light winds through this evening. Friday and Saturday may present some challenges, with a potential for light east winds and lower relative humidity. Rain is still predicted for Sunday evening and Monday, forecasted at a half inch to two inches of precipitation early next week.

Water Bureau staff will continue to coordinate with Unified Command.