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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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What's Happening Now

(Updated February, 2020)

The Willamette River Crossing Project is currently in the design and exploration phase. This phase includes locating underground utilities and conducting a geotechnical probe, which will provide important information about the soil deep underground and help us confirm the best path across the river.

Note: Work schedules are subject to change due to contractor availability and weather.

Here’s a quick recap of developments so far:

  • This project will place a water main deep under the Willamette River for earthquake protection, instead of the current crossings with water pipes on bridges.
  • We’ll use a geotechnical probe to establish the underground path for the water main.
  • We’ve done advance soil sampling to help guide the probe.
  • Both the probe and the water main installation will start on the west side of the river and proceed to the east side.

Learn more February 25th

Because we're working in such a busy part of Portland, we want to make sure everyone is engaged and aware of planned activities. Come hear our project overview and briefing at February’s Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting. This is an ADA-accessible facility.

7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, February 25
First Congregational Church, Fellowship Hall
1126 SW Park Ave

If you know people who live, work or travel through the area:

  • Tell them about our e-newsletter.
  • Invite us to your community or business group for a project presentation.
  • Share your comments and ask questions via email

Future activities

A map shows the location of the construction site at 1720 SW Naito Parkway.


  • Harbor Way: In late February or early March, over a period of three days, crews will close the northbound lane of SW Harbor Way and six parking spaces north of SW Montgomery Drive to help monitor the path of drilling equipment deep underground. Exact dates will depend on the drilling process.
    Traffic impacts: Flaggers will be present to maintain business, residential and bike lane access. Please allow extra time when traveling and follow flagger directions to ensure everyone's safety.
  • Harbor Drive: Starting this spring, crews will dig to place the exploratory drill in the parking lot at 1720 SW Naito. The excavation will be about 30 feet deep and visible from Harbor Drive. When digging is done, crews will install a temporary wall around the excavation to allow for safe drilling.
    Traffic impacts: The right lane of southbound Harbor Drive and some traffic lanes that approach Harbor Drive will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday, over a period of two to three months.


Parking lot and stairway closure

The parking lot and stairway at SW Naito Parkway between Harrison and Market Streets are closed to the public for the duration of the project. Use the ADA accessible ramp on the south end of the parking lot as a detour for the stairway.

Map showing location of detour route

Safety First: Flaggers will be present to maintain business, residential and bike lane access. Please allow extra time when traveling and follow all signs and flagger directions to ensure everyone's safety.

What to expect

  • Businesses will remain open during construction.

  • Temporary paint markings in the street, sidewalk, and/or public right-of-way.

  • Equipment noise will be approximately 90 decibels. (A power lawn mower is approximately 100 decibels.) Over a period of six weeks in the beginning of the new year, geotechnical investigation and drilling will generate noise, Monday to Saturday, both days and nights. The loudest tasks will be completed before 10 p.m. but expect ongoing noise from generators and machinery. Submit questions or concerns to

  • Traffic controls will be in place to keep everyone safe.

East-side activities

Site exploration on the east side of the river has mostly concluded, with limited activities scheduled to take place in spring/summer 2020. In order to limit impacts to the travelling public, some evening and/or weekend work may be required at the remaining site exploration locations. 


  • SE Grand and Stephens (scheduled for 2020)

  • SE 3rd and Stephens (scheduled for 2020)

What to Expect

  • During site exploration, crews use large trucks to excavate in the street, sidewalk, and/or public right-of-way in order to find the exact location of underground utilities and assess conditions at the site. When the exploration is complete, holes are restored with a similar material as needed.

  • Drilling equipment (a drill rig on a trailer and utility truck) will be staged at the exploration location.

  • Equipment noise will be at approximately 90 decibels. A power lawn mower is approximately 100 decibels.

  • Traffic controls may be in place depending on location.

  • Driveways may be blocked for up to a half-hour while utilities are located.

  • Some parking spaces will be used during exploration, but the street will remain open with some minor delays.