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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 7/23/2020 We’re Digging Deep: Willamette River Crossing Geotechical Probe Begins this Week

NOTE: Re-distributing press release from this morning’s media availability with video/audio for production purposes.

How will the Portland Water Bureau install pipe deep below the Willamette River? Learn more about the next phase of the Willamette River Crossing project and how it supports the City of Portland’s seismic resilience goals during this media availability:  

ZOOM PRESS CONFERENCE

10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Friday, July 24. Video footage and audio clips from work site are available by request.

Willamette River Crossing Project Manager Tim Collins will discuss:

  • How this project helps the city be better prepared for an earthquake
  • The fascinating and complex construction and engineering techniques used for this project, including horizontal directional drilling and microtunneling
  • Upcoming traffic and noise impacts

Background: The pipes that carry water from the east to west side of the Willamette River are more than 50 years old and will likely not survive a major earthquake. To help us keep water flowing to the west side, the Portland Water Bureau is planning to install an earthquake-resilient pipe deep under the river, a project we call the Willamette River Crossing.

The project is in the design and exploration phase. We’re investing a little before we go “full bore.” We will use a geotechnical probe to help map the types of soil or rock beneath the river.

ABOUT THE PORTLAND WATER BUREAU

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 53 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,200 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day.

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MEDIA ADVISORY 07/21/2020: City Council to Vote on Sending Ballot Measure to Voters in November Election

On Wednesday, July 22, the Portland City Council will consider a resolution referring a City Charter amendment to Portland voters for the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot, to authorize incidental public use of Water Bureau properties outside the Bull Run Watershed when approved by the City Council. The resolution is sponsored by Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the Commissioner-in-Charge of the Portland Water Bureau. She led the successful passage of two Charter Amendments concerning the Water Bureau in 2019, both of which were overwhelmingly approved by voters. The measure will not impact City lands in the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area.

“The Water Bureau provides excellent water every minute of every day to Portlanders. Through this ballot measure, we would add another community benefit by allowing limited public use of some properties outside the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area,” said Commissioner Fritz. “This could include community gardens, picnic benches on grassy areas near water tanks, or other public uses to connect neighbors with their water utility. Passage of this ballot measure would complete Commissioner Nick Fish’s and my work to clarify appropriate uses of Water Bureau property and funds in the Charter, which I want to finish before I leave office at the end of this year.”

A 2014 advisory ruling in Multnomah County Court decided that the City Charter does not clearly provide authority to the City Council to designate these lands for public use using ratepayer money for maintenance. The proposed Charter amendment would enable the City Council to designate Water Bureau properties for incidental public uses using the Water Fund.  Currently, General Fund money is needed to allow the public to use these public lands for greenspaces, food cultivation, or picnic areas.

If passed, the proposed amendment would clarify Council authority to permit or prohibit incidental uses by the general public of City lands controlled by the Water Bureau, provided the lands are outside of the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area. Incidental public uses may include green spaces, community gardens or other functions that do not conflict with the primary drinking water purpose of these lands, and the City Council would have to approve the specific uses allowed. The public’s incidental use may result in associated costs to the Water Fund, including costs to comply with accessibility standards required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act when public access is allowed.  

ABOUT THE PORTLAND WATER BUREAU

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 53 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,200 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day.

Brief Customer Service payment outage scheduled

Customer Alert: Please note that system maintenance is scheduled on the evening of Tuesday July 21st, between 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. During this time frame, customers may be unable to access our view/pay bill website or our 24-hour automated payment line. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Brief interruption to payment system overnight Sunday July 19

Customer Alert: Please note that on the morning of Sunday July 19th, between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., customers will be unable to access our view/pay bill website or our 24-hour automated payment line due to system maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Water Bureau seeking public comment on code updates

Title 21 is a set of codes that guide our work at the Portland Water Bureau. These codes inform the rules and laws that direct our operations and define the roles and responsibilities of staff who deliver water to nearly a million people in the Portland area.

During this recent review process, we have revised outdated provisions and added Charter changes resulting from ballot measures approved by voters in November 2019.

“We know that our community cares about how we operate your water system,” said Water Bureau Chief Engineer Teresa Elliott. “We’ve spent the past two years reviewing laws that oversee our operations to be sure they are current, consistent and in line with our shared values.”

This revision process has improved Title 21 by:

  • Redefining the authority of the Chief Engineer to plan and maintain our water system.
  • Clarifying the cost sharing process for main extensions and service installations, including clarity for construction and maintenance responsibilities related to water infrastructure serving private property.
  • Clarifying the terms for compliance and inspection of backflow prevention assembly—a system that prevents water from flowing from private property back into the public water system.
  • Deferring to the annual rates ordinance as the forum for setting rates and charges, while also providing potential support for renters by assigning billing responsibility to property owners.
  • Providing additional environmental protections by adding details that voters approved by Charter Amendment in November 2019. For work performed in the Bull Run Watershed, Title 21 now includes rules about riparian protection, stream crossings, wet weather construction, and fire prevention.
  • Adding language from the November 2019 Charter Amendment allowing the Water Bureau to help other communities—and vice versa—during an emergency or natural disaster.

For more information and to read the revised Title 21 document, click hereSummaries of revisions have been translated and are available in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and simplified Chinese.The full Title 21 package is available for translation upon request. Public comment and feedback related to these revisions can be submitted by email, in the email body or as an attachment, to marisa.cesare@portlandoregon.gov by 5 p.m. Aug. 21st.

Comments can include everything from general comments about the overall revisions or policy direction, specific code language, or any other items related to these revisions. If your comments address a specific revision or code language, please include information and list the specific code and language and your suggested revisions where possible."

ABOUT THE PORTLAND WATER BUREAU

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 53 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,200 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day.