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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


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Tour the Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project

Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project Tour

The Portland Water Bureau will be conducting two public tours, on site, of the Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project. This is your opportunity to learn about construction methods, future activities, schedule, and much more. Tours will be led by the project manager and principal engineer.

The Portland Water Bureau is rebuilding the Washington Park reservoirs, a project that continues through 2024.  Washington Park reservoirs were originally built in 1894. When completed, this project will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve more than 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 schools, five hospital complexes, and more than 60 parks. This system of water conveyance and storage makes Portland a livable, and thriving community, ensuring public health and economic viability.  

Tour Information

Tours will be conducted Saturday, October 7, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. There is room for 20 people per tour. Each person must register separately to attend a tour. Slots will fill quickly, so register now!

Come prepared for the day. Participants will be touring an active construction site and should be prepared to navigate stairs, elevation changes, rough surfaces, etc. Be sure to wear closed-toed boots or sturdy shoes and weather appropriate clothing. Safety vests, hardhats and safety glasses which will be provided.


Contact Rhetta Drennan at 503-823-3028 or

Success on the Spillway: Repairing the Dam 2 Spillway

Industrial painters on dam spillway

The Water Bureau industrial painting crew knows how to hustle.

A three-person team, the Water Bureau industrial painters are responsible for cleaning, painting, and maintaining a variety of critical Water Bureau infrastructure: water tanks, offline reservoirs, and dams and spillways inside the Bull Run Watershed. Basically, anything that sits above ground or in a vault and delivers water will get a visit from our industrial painting crew.

Painters paint spillway

The Water Bureau painters’ most recent challenge was washing, repairing, and re-caulking the Dam 2 spillway. The Dam 2 spillway carries overflow water from Dam 2 downstream to the Bull Run River. Last year, the Water Bureau Operations workgroup developed a three-year plan to replace and repair the caulking that holds together the large concrete slabs that make up the spillway.

Then, early this year, the Oroville Dam incident occurred.

This well-reported incident prompted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency responsible for overseeing the safety of our country’s dams, to increase inspection schedules for several spillways across the country, including the Water Bureau’s own Dam 2 spillway. After working alongside FERC officials to assess the repair plan, it was decided that—in light of the Oroville Dam incident, and due to the age of the Dam 2 spillway—the bureau would accelerate spillway re-caulking before the rainy winter months.

Spillway repairs

This schedule adjustment meant that the entire spillway would have to be washed, repaired, and re-caulked within one year, as opposed to the original three-year schedule.

Cue the scramble. Our industrial painters hustled throughout the summer, working through hot weather on even hotter concrete, with some days reaching more than 105 degrees.

The work involved pressure washing the spillway, removing the old caulking material, installing new foam backing to prevent caulk seepage, and caulking along the seam of the entire Dam 2 spillway.

The painting crew’s hustle paid off. They finished the repair work within two months. One full year ahead of schedule.


*drops paintbrush*