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Portland Water Bureau

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June 29, 2016: Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project Monthly Update

In order to comply with federal and state mandates and ensure a healthy, resilient, and secure water system, the Portland Water Bureau and Oregon general contractor Hoffman Construction Company are moving forward with an eight-year capital improvement project to update the Washington Park reservoir site at 2403 SW Jefferson Street. 

The project includes building a new, seismically reinforced below ground reservoir.

The new reservoir will preserve the historic drinking water function provided by the original reservoirs at the site and be engineered to withstand ongoing landslide encroachment and potentially catastrophic effects of a major earthquake. A reflecting pool/water feature will be constructed on top in the same general footprint as the historical Reservoir 3. Reservoir 4 will be disconnected from the public drinking water system and a lowland wildlife habitat area, bioswale, and reflecting pool will be constructed in the basin.

When complete and online, the new underground reservoir will supply water to Portland’s west side and serve more than 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 Portland public schools, three hospital complexes, more than 60 parks, and the Oregon Zoo.


  • Proposed Schedule
  • July 1, 2016: Begin construction
  • December 31, 2019: Complete construction on new Reservoir 3
  • December 31, 2020: Disconnect Reservoir 4 from the public water system
  • 2023-2024: Complete project completed

The project will span eight years. The first two years (2016-2018) will trigger the most significant impacts to traffic, transportation, and parking in the park. Washington Park users are encouraged to travel to and move safely around the park and its attractions by using the bus and light rail, walking, biking and skating, and taking the free park shuttle. Visit and for transit options. 

Upcoming Work: Current – September 2016  

Construction Fence Installation Within project site  X      
Placement of Mobile Field Offices Project site, below Reservoir 4  X      
Tree Pruning / Inspection Within project site, around the reservoirs, along SW Sacajawea Boulevard, SW Lewis Clark Way, & SW Madison Court  X    
Vegetation / Tree Removal Around the reservoirs, by SW Sacajawea and Sherwood Boulevards  X    
Erosion Control Within project site X    
Disconnect Reservoir 3 Inlet and Outlet Piping Within project site    X  X    
Remove Weir Building Within project site, east of Reservoir 3      X  X  
Disconnect Reservoir 4 Inlet and Outlet Piping Within project site, by Reservoir 4      X  X  
Cut and Cap Piping Within project site, by Reservoir 4      X  X  
Removal of Stilling Tank inside Gatehouse 4 Within project site, by Gatehouse 4      
Construct Shoring Wall (begins mid-Sept) Within project site, by Reservoir 3      

IMap showing traffic delay locationsmpacts: May – September 2016

  • Traffic Delays: Travelers may experience intermittent traffic flow delays up to 20 minutes on SW Sacajawea and SW Sherwood Boulevards due to pre-construction maintenance and removal of vegetation and trees in the project site.

  • Parking: All parking will remain open on SW Lewis Clark Way and SW Sacajawea and SW Sherwood Boulevards.

  • Park Facilities: All park facilities will remain open.

  • TriMet Bus Service: TriMet Bus Line 63 may have minor delays. Stop ID 6177 at SW Sacajawea/ Sherwood may be intermittently affected depending on pre-construction activity. Check for real time updates.

The project is part of the Water Bureau’s Capital Improvement Program. It is funded by revenue bond proceeds backed by the utility ratepayers’ fund. Currently, 100 percent of the project’s design is complete. With high confidence, the Water Bureau now appraises the total project budget for the life of the project at $190 million (+/- 10 percent). 

In June 2016, the Water Bureau held events for local media outlets and members of the community to honor the past, present, and future of the Washington Park reservoirs. Five media outlets and close to 100 community members attended the events, taking the opportunity to photograph the reservoirs and participate in guided walking tours and a “toss a penny into the reservoir, make a wish” tribute. View KOIN Channel 6’s coverage and additional photos of the events on the Water Blog.

The Water Bureau will be presenting project updates at upcoming neighborhood association meetings. Please join us to learn more about the project: 

To contact us with questions or concerns or to change your preferences on how to receive project updates: