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Portland Water Bureau

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


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

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Fall 2015 Customer Newsletter

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Fall 2015 Customer Newsletter

Each quarter, the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau offer important information on rebates, payment options, drinking water quality and water efficiency tips in printed inserts that accompany your sewer-stormwater-water bill. 

In the Fall 2015 statement, customers will find a newsletter highlighting the Water Bureau’s new director, the Portland Utility Board, monthly statements and paperless billing, how the Water Bureau’s working to prepare the water system for an earthquake, and more!

The Fall 2015 Customer Newsletter, along with the Winter, Spring, and Summer newsletters, can be accessed on the Water Bureau’s website.

Thank You David Shaff

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment


After 37 years of service to the City of Portland and its residents, David G. Shaff has officially retired from his position as Water Bureau Administrator.

Hired to the City in 1978, David worked his first 25 years in the Bureau of Human Resources, primarily in Labor Relations. He was responsible for negotiating each of the City's collective bargaining agreements multiple times. David ended his tenure there as the City's Labor Relations Manager in 2003.

"I cannot describe how proud I am to have worked for the Portland Water Bureau these last 10 years,” says David. “My entire career at the City of Portland has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, but these last 10 years have been the most special.”

In 2004, he joined Commissioner Randy Leonard's staff as a policy advisor.

One year later, David was appointed Interim Administrator of the Portland Water Bureau and then appointed permanently in July 2006.

For the past 10 years, David served in that capacity, dedicated to delivering “the best drinking water in the world” to the Portland metropolitan area, keeping needs and desires of customers in the forefront of thoughts and actions, using ratepayer dollars wisely, and protecting the natural environment so its benefits were available to meet today and future generation’s needs.

While there were some bumps and frustrations along the way, David can easily say that he regarded time at the Water Bureau as “challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling.”

“I am most proud of the efforts the bureau has made toward preparing for a major seismic event,” says David. “While we can do more, we have hardened at least one conduit coming from the Bull Run Watershed into town including the Sandy River Crossing; we have built and are designing new terminal storage reservoirs that are intended to function even after “the big one”; we are designing a new crossing under the river to address the probability that several of our older crossings will fail; and we have built the necessary facilities (the EOC and Interstate Warehouse and office buildings) to protect the safety and well-being of our employees and ensure our continuity of operations after a major event. Most recently, I am very proud to have been involved in crafting an historic agreement with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association regarding how we will maintain, repair, and preserve the reservoirs at Tabor into the future.”

Thank you David for your dedication and professionalism to the City, the Water Bureau, and the citizens of Portland. The Water Bureau wishes you the best of luck on your quest for new challenges, rewards, and fulfillment.

Join Our Team: Senior Risk Specialist

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

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 Job Available at the Water Bureau

Senior Risk Specialist** Full Time $5,496.00 - $7,330.00 Monthly 9/11/15 4:30 PM Pacific Time

**This recruitment will remain open until 75 applications have been received or until the posted closing date, September 11, 2015, whichever comes first.

Water Quality Trivia

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

The temperature of water in our distribution system fluctuates seasonally. What impacts can we expect to see with a mild winter and spring followed by early summer temperatures in the 90’s?

A.   Customers may notice warmer water from their cold water faucets.

B.   Shifts in algae populations may occur in the open reservoirs, which could affect the taste/odor of our drinking water.

C.   Minimal impacts will be seen as underground water mains act as a refrigerator.  Water temperature fluctuates only by a few degrees throughout the year.

D.   As water temperature increases, chlorine disinfectant levels can decrease.

Answer: A, B, and D can all occur with seasonal temperature fluctuations. 

This year, these impacts are seen sooner due to the mild winter and spring and 90 degree temperatures in June.  The Portland Water Bureau monitors algae in the system to ensure that no harmful species are present. Additionally, chlorine levels are adjusted seasonally to maintain adequate disinfectant levels to protect public health.

Questions or Concerns About Water Quality?
Contact the Water Bureau’s Water Line at 503-823-7525.

Summer Water Saving Tools Available

By Lindsay Wochnick Add a Comment

Free outdoor devices

It’s been a long, dry summer so far and Portland lawns are looking more like golden fields than lush green carpets.

To keep your plants alive and use water wisely, the Portland Water Bureau has free hose nozzles, watering gauges, and water-wise plant guides.

  • Hose Nozzle: Avoid running a hose unchecked when watering by hand.
  • Watering Gages: Measure how much water is being put down on the grass when using a sprinkler. Sign up for the weekly watering number that tells you how much to water based on the weather.
  • Water-Efficiency Plant Guide: While it is not a good time to plant new landscapes, this full-color guide is a great tool for planning. Make smart plant choices for your landscape here in the Willamette Valley.

Get your Hands on Free Water-Saving Tools

  • Visit the Water Bureau Customer Service Center at 1120 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
  • E-mail
  • Call 503-823-7439