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Portland Water Bureau

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

GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

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Most downtown streets open, Hawthorne Bridge open both directions, east bound access limited to SW Naito Parkway onramp after Sunday water main break

Portland Water Bureau crews have isolated the broken water pipe that caused traffic and discolored water impacts to the downtown core today. They are conducting repairs at the main break site on Southwest 1st Avenue and Southwest Madison Street. Southwest 1st Avenue between Southwest Jefferson and Southwest Salmon streets will continue to be closed until the water main is repaired and the street is temporarily restored. 

Most impacted streets are now open: 

  • Hawthorne Bridge is open in both directions. Southwest access to the eastbound lanes of the Hawthorne Bridge is available only by the Southwest Naito Parkway onramp.
  • Southwest Main Street is fully open.  
  • Southwest Salmon Street is fully open. 

Many downtown businesses, including hotels and restaurants, are experiencing discolored water due to sediment stirred up by the water main break. Water Bureau crews will be flushing through the evening to clear pipes. The water is safe to drink, but may cause clogging of filters in washing and dishwashing machines. Until water runs clear: 

  • Use the water to flush toilets, but avoid running the water through filters, hot water heaters, and washing machines.
  • Wait an hour for the system to settle, then run water at one tap for up to five minutes to  see if it clears.  If it does not clear, wait another hour and try again. When the water runs clear, run water throughout the house to flush any sediment that may have been drawn into your pipes. 

April 9 Water Main Break: Some services in the area may experience dirty water, due to agitation of sediment in the water mains

Water Main Break Update: Some services in the area may experience discolored water, due to agitation of sediment in the water main. In most cases the water will clear on its own within two hours or less. If your water is discolored:

  • Use the water to flush toilets, but avoid running the water through filters, hot water heaters, and washing machines.
  • Wait an hour for the system to settle, then run water at one tap for up to five minutes to see if  it clears.  If it does not clear, wait another hour and try again. When the water runs clear, run water throughout the house to flush any sediment that may have been drawn into your pipes. 

Water main repair closes Hawthorne Bridge in both directions, and some downtown streets

The Hawthorne Bridge is closed in both directions due to a water main break at Southwest 1st Avenue and Southwest Madison Street. Southwest 1st Avenue is closed between SW Jefferson and Southwest Salmon streets, and SW Madison, Main and Salmon streets are closed between Southwest 1st and 2nd avenues. 

A 16-inch water main on Southwest Madison at Southwest 1st Avenue, just at the eastbound entrance to the Hawthorne Bridge, broke mid-morning on Sunday April 9. The cast iron main was installed in 1958. Water filled Southwest 1st Avenue down to Southwest Salmon Street until water valves and gates were closed. Crews are on site initiating repairs. Repairs are expected to go through the night; the goal is to have the Hawthorne Bridge and all downtown streets open for the morning commute.

Water service is impacted to five commercial buildings in the area. Building managers have been notified to assess any water damage to basements.

Some services in the area may experience dirty water, due to agitation of sediment in the water mains.  In most cases the water will clear on its own within two hours or less. If your water is discolored:

  • Use the water to flush toilets, but  avoid running the water through filters, hot water heaters, and washing machines.
  • Wait an hour for the system to  settle, then run water at one tap for up to five minutes to see if it clears.  If it does not clear, wait another hour and try again. When the water runs clear, run water throughout the house to flush any sediment that may have been drawn into your pipes.

The traveling public is reminded to stay alert and use caution as traffic may suddenly slow or stop. To avoid traffic delays, motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes around the work site. 

The Portland Water Bureau’s Maintenance & Construction crews are ready to respond to emergencies, including water main breaks, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. On average, crews respond to 200 main breaks a year.

Add the Water Meter to Your Spring Cleaning List

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Meter readerOur meter readers check your water meter monthly or quarterly to collect your water consumption for billing purposes.

Every day, a meter reader will visit more than 500 meters and keeping the area clean and clear helps them do their job efficiently.

If the area around your water meter is clear, our meter readers can quickly and accurately collect your meter reading information on the first visit to your property. But if your meter is obstructed by objects such as cars, trash cans and recycling bins, landscape bark or gravel, a meter reader will have to return to your property to read your meter. If your water meter is obstructed, you will first receive a friendly reminder to keep your meter clear. If your meter continues to be inaccessible, you may be charged a fee if we need to return to re-read or if we need to hire someone to remove the obstruction.

You can avoid this charge by keeping your meter box clear. Additionally, a box free from clutter or debris makes it easy to ensure that the lid fits properly, is safe, and can be quickly turned off in an emergency.

Here are some tasks to add to your spring cleaning list to maintain clear access to your water meter.

Clean Up Yard Debris: Trees, Bushes and Plantings

  • Trim bushes, trees and grass that block the way or cover the meter.
  • Minimize plants in the area which meter readers must travel through to get to your meter.
  • Remove all branches hanging lower than six feet over the meter box.

Keep Pets Away

Keep pets away from the path that leads to your meter.

If you have a guard dog for security, please let us know so that we can make sure that our meter readers and other utility personnel are aware of this. We may ask that you arrange to confine the dog during the day that your meter will be read.

Display Your Address

Please also ensure your house address is clearly displayed on your residence. This also assists emergency personnel who may need to find your home in a hurry.

Click here for additional information and resources or contact Customer Service at 503-823-7770. Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.

Attend the Portland Utility Board Meeting Tonight, Tuesday, April 4

Portland Utility Board meetingThe Portland Utility Board (PUB) is a citizen oversight body for the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services that advises City Council on water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste financial plans and rates.

Meeting Information

The next PUB meeting will be held today at the Portland Building. Meeting information is below.

Date: Tuesday, April 4
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: The Portland Building, Room C

For more information about the Portland Utility Board, including meeting minutes and agendas, visit https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/68272.