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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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Happy National Engineers Week! Get to Know Dan, a Water Bureau Civil Engineer

By Brian Balla

This week, the Portland Water Bureau is celebrating National Engineer Week by highlighting our engineers in their own words.

Meet Dan, a Civil Engineer and native Minnesotan who’s been with the Water Bureau for more than 10 years.

Tell us a little about your background and what made you want to choose engineering as a career.

I have Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota. The first eight years of my career were primarily focused on geotechnical engineering. I was then hired by the Water Bureau, where I have worked for the past 10 years.

My first interest in engineering came from my grandpa who was a Civil Engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. As I progressed through my schooling I enjoyed sciences and mathematics courses.  The progression into engineering was natural.

Measuring landslide movement of the Washington Park LandslideDescribe your typical day. What do engineers eat for breakfast? What do you do as soon as you get to the office? What takes up most of your time?

My typical workday includes a bowl of either oatmeal or yogurt with granola, both with fresh fruit. A review of emails and a to-do task list is generally made during my breakfast. This winter, a lot of my time has been given to looking at landslides and determining if there is a risk to our water system. Otherwise, my day is spent assisting our construction management team for the Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project. This includes answering requests for information and responding to submittals.

What has been one of your favorite projects to work on?

That would be the Washington Park Reservoirs Improvement Project which is currently under construction. I have been working on this project since 2009. During the planning phase, I managed the preliminary geotechnical investigation. During the design phase, I was a co-project manager with Jerry Moore. I am currently a design liaison to the construction management team.

How has the industry changed since you began your career?

The use of technology has become a huge part of day-to-day work. As a young engineer, I often performed the majority of calculations by hand. Computers where utilized to some extent but were slow and challenging calculations often froze programs. Today, one can perform thousands of calculation in a matter of seconds.

When I first started my career, one generally communicated with others outside of the office once a day either by telephone or email. But today, we communicate numerous times per day through a variety of means: telephones, cells phones, text messages, email, conference calls, and video meetings. With that said, the one thing that has not changed is that the best path to becoming a good engineer is experience over time.

What attributes does a successful engineer have?

Being able to communicate to a wide variety of people is essential. It is not only engineers that you will be working with on any given project. A typical project will require interacting with members of the public, neighborhood associations, Water Bureau operations groups, contractors and environmental permitting agencies.

Stella, Dan's family pupWhat do you love about working at the Water Bureau?

I take pride in being a part of an organization that provides quality water to the public. I have been fortunate to be able to work on the new Powell Butte, Kelly Butte, and Washington Park reservoirs.

What is one piece of advice that you have for someone entering your field now?

Work on your people skills. Building relationships and the ability to work with others will be the key to a successful career in engineering. Typical interactions will not be limited to other engineers, but will include members of the public, contractors, planners, regulators and even politicians.

What is your favorite pasttime?

Anything outdoors. I am an avid snowboarder and I enjoy hiking, camping, and surfing.

Family and/or pets? What are their ages and/or names?

I have been married for over 14 years to my wife, Melissa, and we have an 8-year-old daughter, Josie.  We also have a golden retriever named Stella.

Join Our Team: Customer Accounts Specialist I, Environmental Program Specialist, Program Specialist, Senior Engineer

By Brian Balla

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 Opportunities at the Water Bureau

Position   Emp. Type   Salary   Closing Date/Time Join Our Team 
Customer Accounts Specialist I  Full Time  $17.95 - $25.88 Hourly

Mon. 2/27/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

 Apply Here!
Environmental Program Specialist Full Time $5,033.00 - $6,709.00 Monthly

Thurs. 3/9/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Apply Here!
Program Specialist Full Time  $5,033.00 - $6,709.00 Monthly

Fri. 3/3/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Apply Here!
Senior Engineer Full Time  $7,468.00 - $9,956.00 Monthly

Fri. 3/10/17 4:30 PM Pacific Time

Apply Here!

All completed applications for this position must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on the closing date and hour of this recruitment. E-mailed and/or faxed applications will not be accepted.

Learn More About the Water Bureau


For more information regarding career opportunities at the Water Bureau, contact (503) 823-3515 or e-mail.

Additional Cryptosporidium Detected in Bull Run Water

By Brian Balla

The Portland Water Bureau received results from ongoing monitoring of the Bull Run watershed. While the bureau is no longer serving drinking water from the Bull Run watershed, monitoring for Cryptosporidium has continued. The bureau remains in compliance with the terms of the Cryptosporidium treatment variance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

On Monday, Feb. 13, anticipating that further Cryptosporidium detections from the Bull Run were possible, the Portland Water Bureau proactively activated the groundwater wells from the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

The most recent results from water that was not served to the public was from two 50-liter (13 gallon) samples that were positive for one Cryptosporidium oocyst each. The positive samples were collected Tuesday, Feb. 14 and Wednesday, Feb. 15. These are the eighth and ninth positive samples out of 32 samples this year.

The bureau is committed to keeping the public informed of the ongoing monitoring for Cryptosporidium from the Bull Run. The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at The bureau will continue to notify the Oregon Health Authority of all detections.

The bureau will also coordinate with state and county health officials to determine when to return to the Bull Run as our drinking water source. The bureau will notify the public and the media when it returns to Bull Run water.

Additional information regarding the Portland Water Bureau’s treatment variance and answers to frequently asked questions are available at Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at (503) 823-7525.

Five Presidents That Helped Protect Portland’s Water Supply

By Brian Balla

Presidents’ Day is a time to remember and reflect on the contributions made to our country by each of our past U.S. Presidents.

Washington, D.C. may seem worlds away from Portland, Oregon, but five past Presidents had a part in helping preserve the Bull Run Watershed – the federally-protected reserve that supplies fresh, clean drinking water to over 900,000 Oregonians every day.

Let’s take a moment to learn about these five past Presidents who helped protect this important natural resource.

President Benjamin HarrisonPresident Benjamin Harrison

In 1892, using powers granted to him under the Forest Reserve Act passed by Congress a year prior, President Benjamin Harrison established the Bull Run Forest Reserve which prohibited settlement in the 142,000-acre reserve. President Harrison’s act also made it easier for the Portland Water Committee (later renamed the Portland Water Board) to acquire private land and water rights in the basin. The establishment of the Forest Reserve set a precedent for federal protection of the Bull Run. It was the first step of many in protecting and preserving the delicate ecosystem that supplies Portland’s drinking water.

President Theodore RooseveltPresident Theodore Roosevelt

Despite the new settlement restrictions signed into law by President Harrison, fishing, hunting, camping and livestock grazing were still allowed in the newly-created Bull Run Forest Reserve. Because of this, the Portland Water Board sought additional land use restrictions within the reserve to further protect Portland’s drinking water supply.

In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Bull Run Trespass Act which further limited entry and activities – including grazing – in the Bull Run Forest Reserve. But the specific wording of the law left the law open to interpretation, planting seeds for conflict over access and forest management in the Bull Run. Over the next half-century, the Portland Water Board, which would become the Water Bureau in 1913, completed a variety of infrastructure projects – including adding diversion structures, water conduits and others – to the original system. But by the mid-1950s, the City of Portland and the U.S. Forest Service began to disagree about logging and public access in the watershed.

President Jimmy CarterPresident Jimmy Carter

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Bull Run Act (PL 95-200). The law replaced the Trespass Act of 1904 and declared that the principal management objective of the Watershed to be the production of “…pure, clear, raw potable water…for the City of Portland and other local government units and persons in the Portland metropolitan area.” Other activities inside the watershed were permitted, provided they did not interfere with the primary objective of the Watershed.

The Bull Run Act also created the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit (BRWMU; the administrative boundary of the Bull Run Watershed), authorized the Forest Service to enact entry restrictions and formally recognized a role for the City of Portland in the management the Bull Run. The law did not settle the controversy around logging and logging continued in the Bull Run until the early 1990s. 

President Bill ClintonPresident Bill Clinton

President Clinton signed into law the Oregon Resource Conservation Act of 1996. This law amended the Bull Run Act and prohibited all timber harvest on all Forest Service lands within the Bull Run River drainage except for tree cutting needed to protect or enhance water quality or water quantity and for the development, operation and maintenance of hydropower and water supply facilities. This Act largely ended the logging controversy in the Bull Run.

President George BushPresident George W. Bush

In 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law the Little Sandy Protection Act. This law added most of the Little Sandy watershed to the BRWMU and extended the timber restrictions throughout the Little Sandy drainage within the BRWMU. (The Little Sandy is outside of the water supply drainage boundary.)

Learn More about the Bull Run Watershed

Careful and responsible management and protection of the Bull Run drinking water supply are vital to maintaining Portland’s high quality water quality and public health.

To learn more about the Bull Run Watershed and how federal, City and State protections safeguard this important resource, click here.

Water Work Closes One Lane of SE 68th Avenue North of SE Division to Mt. Tabor Park

By Teresa Black Add a Comment

PORTLAND,  OR- A contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will be disconnecting an old water pipe in SE 68th Avenue the week of Feb. 20, 2017.

The work will begin on Monday (Presidents’ Day) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  and will continue Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. One lane of traffic will remain open. Flaggers will direct traffic.

No water services will be disrupted.

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.