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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Preservation Construction Projects

A team has been built that includes Portland Water Bureau (PWB) staff, Portland Parks Bureau staff, and representatives from both the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) and the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park (FMTP). This team is tasked with planning and oversight of the work called for in Resolution #37146.

In the spring of 2016, this team hired a local historic preservation consultant to update the 2009 Mt. Tabor Historic Structures Report (a.k.a. “2009 HSR”) with an analysis of current conditions and current construction cost estimates. Rob Dortignacq is the author of the original 2009 HSR, so his familiarity with the project allowed the update to move efficiently. The 2016 update that was produced allowed the joint PWB/community team to set realistic priorities for work to be done with the $4 million committed to by City Council.

In March of 2017, the historic-preservation contracting team at Akana was selected to help execute the preservation work and make sure that it is carried out with the sensitivity to the historic resources. Akana is a Native-American-owned, Northwest-based, professional services firm that helps clients plan, design, engineer, and manage projects in the built environment. Akana will be with the Historic Preservation Project for the duration, helping the joint PWB/community team efficiently bundle, contract for, and manage the many individual tasks that need doing on Tabor.

Project Updates

Soth wall

Reservoir 1 south wall restoration complete.

Construction activities to repair and rebuild the historic features of the reservoirs in Mt. Tabor Park will begin in November 2017. The areas impacted are the reservoir loop walkway around Reservoir 1 and the concrete stairway on the dam face between Reservoirs 5 and 6. 

Reservoir 1: November 2017–May 2018

Reservoir 1 is currently off line while extensive preservation work is conducted. The south exterior wall is complete, and concrete restoration of the gutter and sidewalk around the reservoir is on-going. It is anticipated that this work will be complete by the end of May. A separate contract for basin repairs is under development and anticipated to be bid Summer 2018.

Dam Face Fencing: Winter 2018

The fencing replacement project on the Reservoir 5 dam face is almost complete. The north side hand-rail will be installed soon. Park users should not use the stairs when workers are installing the hand rail. Once this work in complete, the site will be cleaned and the ground around the mow strip will be re-seeded.


To contact a Portland Water Bureau representative, click here.

Project Background

The community has prioritized the replacement of fencing that isolates the dam face between Reservoirs 5 and 6 from park activities. This isolation and protection is required by the Oregon Water Resources Department Dam Safety Program. The existing chain link fence will be removed and a more visually compatible and complementary fence will be installed. A new railing on the south side of the concrete staircase will also be installed. Some non-native landscaping has been removed, and native plants will be planted in select areas.

A contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will begin the fence replacement project in Mt. Tabor Park beginning Monday, December 4. The chain link fence surrounding the steep dam face between reservoirs 5 and 6 and will be removed and replaced with a decorative fence that that closely matches the historical fencing around the reservoirs. A concrete mow strip on either side of the staircase will be poured and a new handrail on the south side of the staircase will be installed.

The work will take a approximately 60 days. At some point during construction, the stairway will be closed to pedestrians. Workers will be staging equipment and supplies at the top of the staircase on the roadway directly in front of the Reservoir 5 gatehouse, and at the bottom of the staircase, just up from Reservoir 6. An orange construction barricade will be put in place to protect pedestrians from the construction zone.

Park users are required to obey all construction signs and to keep out of the construction zone. Please view the project website at

Next Steps

Preservation construction activities on select historic reservoir and gatehouse features are scheduled for the next three years. Updates will be posted here.