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Washington Park Reservoir Project: Land Use Hearings Officer Determines Next Steps for Type III Application


In order to comply with federal and state mandates, and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Portland Water Bureau is moving forward with a project to update the Washington Park reservoir site.

On November 2, 2015, a public hearing was held before the City of Portland Land Use Hearings Officer to review the Portland Water Bureau’s Type III Conditional Use, Environmental, and Tree Reviews application for the Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project.

During the hearing, the Hearings Officer reviewed the application, considered city staff recommendations and public testimony, and determined the next actions: 

November 2-9, 2015 The record will remain open for public submission of new evidence and/or argument about the application from November 2 to November 9, 2015 at 4 p.m.
November 9-16, 2015 The record will be held open from November 9 to November 16, 2015 at 4 p.m. for the Water Bureau (applicant) to respond to any evidence and/or argument in the record.
December 8, 2015 A decision from the Hearings Officer on the application is expected by December 8, 2015 (17 days after record closes).

Public Submission of New Evidence, Argument
New evidence and/or argument may be faxed to 503-823-4347, hand-delivered or mailed to the below address:

City of Portland Hearings Office
Room 3100
1900 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201
RE: LU 15-169656 CU EN TR

The Hearings Office does not accept e-mails. Submittals must be received by the Hearings Office by 4 p.m. on November 9, 2015. Submittals arriving later than that will not be considered. Questions or clarification of submittal requirements should be directed to the Hearings Office.

A courtesy copy of the application submitted to the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) is posted on the Water Bureau’s project webpage at Note that BDS maintains the official application record which tracks updates and revisions over time.

Project Details
The Water Bureau’s Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project proposes to build a new below-ground reservoir in the same general footprint as the existing upper Reservoir 3, with a reflecting pool on top. The lower Reservoir 4 basin and the slope west of it are needed to provide landslide abatement; the slope will be restored to its pre-reservoir condition. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland habitat area/bioswale and a reflecting pool are also proposed in the Reservoir 4 basin.

Work will primarily be within the Historic District. The project addresses major reservoir issues, including recurrent landslide damage, compliance with federal law, seismic vulnerability, and deterioration of the 120 year-old structures.

The project includes three Land Use Reviews (LUR). Detailed information is included in the chart to the right:

  • Type IV Demolition Review application: The application proposed the removal of the Weir Building (screen house), portions of lower Reservoir 4’s basin, and upper Reservoir 3’s basin in Washington Park.
  • Type III Historic Review application: The application describes historic preservation and rehabilitation actions and proposes construction of a covered reservoir, reflecting pools, lowland habitat area/bioswale, and walkways.          
  • Type III Conditional Use/ Environmental/Tree Reviews application: The application addresses development impacts to the site, park, and surrounding neighborhoods, tree protection, natural-area restoration, and construction and traffic management for the project.

Before work permits are issued or construction begins, all applications must be approved. The applications are a result of a robust public involvement process that included multiple public open houses and nine Community Sounding Board meetings that guided design for the required visible features of the Washington Park project.

Additional Information & Contacts
For detailed project information, visit the project webpage or contact Water Bureau Public Information staff at 503-823-3028 or by e-mail.  Visit the Bureau of Development Services’ website or call 503-823-7300 for more information on the land use review application process. 


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