Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

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

More Contact Info

She Flies with Her Own Wings: 3 Women Who Made History in Oregon and Beyond

Add a Comment

Women’s History Month is a time to remember and celebrate the contributions women have made to our shared history, culture, and society, whether those contributions were made in Oregon or beyond our state’s borders.

To shine a spotlight on women who have made — and continue to make — their marks on the world, we’d like to introduce you to these women whose work has shaped our City and our world.

Portrait of Dorothy McCullough Lee, Portland's first female mayorDorothy McCullough Lee

Dorothy McCullough Lee was a trailblazer in Oregon politics. McCullough Lee served as a Congresswoman in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1929 to 1931. After her service in the House, McCullough Lee and Gladys M. Everett created Oregon’s first all-women law firm which operated out of the Failing Building in downtown Portland.

In 1932, McCullough Lee re-entered the State Legislature, serving as an Oregon State Senator until 1943. McCullough Lee resigned from the Oregon Senate to fill a vacant seat on Portland City Council, where she became the first woman to serve on City Council and the first female to lead Portland’s public utility agencies, including what would become known as the Portland Water Bureau.

Later, McCullough Lee served as Portland Mayor from 1949 to 1953.

According to Historian E. Kimbark MacColl, "Mrs. Lee was probably more qualified by experience and training to serve her office than anyone in Portland's previous history.”

Portrait of Jean RichardsonJean Richardson

In 1949, Jean Richardson was the first woman to graduate from Oregon State University’s Civil Engineering program. Her first job out of college was working for an engineering firm in Birmingham, Alabama, for one month with no pay —to prove to the company that her work was just as good as the male engineers at the same firm. By the end month, Jean had made her point: the firm hired her for pay.

After working in Alabama and taking time to raise a family, Jean returned to Oregon where she became the first woman to head maintenance engineering for the City of Portland where, towards the end of her career, she designed the Columbia River wastewater treatment plant.

Today, one of Portland’s Aerial Tram cars is named “Jean” to honor Jean Richardson’s legacy and contributions to the City as a trailblazing female engineer.

Deepika KurupDeepika Kurup

At 19 years old, if you add up Deepika Kurup’s accomplishment, you’d get quite an impressive list.

In 2012, Kurup received the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Award for her work in developing an inexpensive, solar-powered water cleaning system that can provide clean water to communities around the world, particularly in underprivileged areas.

Then in 2014 she was awarded the U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize award for her project “A Novel Photocatalytic Pervious Composite for Degrading Organics and Inactivating Bacteria in Wastewater.” A year later, Kurup was named one of Forbes’ 2015 30 Under 30 in Energy.

Ensuring that communities have access to clean water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of life-threatening diseases.

Now a Harvard sophomore studying neurobiology, Kurup says that the motivation for her work is to help people by solving the world’s biggest challenges.

Cryptosporidium Monitoring Update: Monitoring and Coordination with Health Officials Continue

Add a Comment

The Portland Water Bureau received results from ongoing monitoring for Cryptosporidium. Between March 12 and March 17, one sample out of five was positive for Cryptosporidium, a potentially disease-causing microorganism. The detection was from a sample collected Sunday, March 12, from the Bull Run Watershed intake, and is the 14th positive sample this year. One Cryptosporidium oocyst was detected in this 50-liter sample.

The Portland Water Bureau monitors for Cryptosporidium under conditions of a variance for the treatment of Cryptosporidium issued by its regulators at the Oregon Health Authority. After the first detections of Cryptosporidium in early January 2017, the Portland Water Bureau increased monitoring at the drinking water intake. These results are part of that effort.

The Portland Water Bureau continues to coordinate with public health officials and the Oregon Health Authority. At this time, the bureau and our public health partners at Multnomah County, continue to believe the health risk to the public from Bull Run water is low.

The bureau continues to recommend that people with severely weakened immune systems seek specific advice from their health care providers about drinking water. There is no need for the general public to take additional precautions.

While it is possible that low-level detections of Cryptosporidium from the Bull Run will continue, current evidence from public health data, monitoring results, and watershed investigations, as well as extensive consultation with public health officials, have provided confidence in the Portland Water Bureau’s decision to continue serving Bull Run water.

The bureau will continue to sample the Bull Run for Cryptosporidium and gather information about these detections.

The public and the media are encouraged to view all sampling results posted to the City’s website at The media will also be notified of any further low-level detections on a weekly basis, if they occur. The bureau will notify the media and public immediately should further testing results indicate a risk to public health and precautions are necessary.

Customers with questions regarding water quality can call the Water Line at 503-823-7525.

Fix a Leak Week Trivia

Add a Comment

Photo of leaky faucetThis week, we’re celebrating Fix a Leak Week with tips and tools to help you find and fix pesky water leaks that can cost you hundreds of dollars a year.

A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute can waste how many gallons of water per year?

  1. 100
  2. 250
  3. 500


A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute can waste a whopping 500 gallons per year. That’s the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher!

Learn How to Find and Fix Leaks

Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench. Watch this video to learn how you can repair a leaky shower faucet, then jump over to for more DIY leak-repair information.

3 Ways to Make Every Drop Count

Did you gnome that the average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water each year in fixable leaks? That equals 270 loads of laundry! We are all familiar with the nuisance of a kitchen faucet dripping late at night, but other leaks may not be as obvious. Some take investigation to find, but are well worth your sleuthing efforts. By fixing a leak yourself, you can save money by reducing your household water and sewer costs!

Here are a few places to check for water leaks:

  • Toilets: Lift the lid off the toilet tank and squeeze in a drop of food coloring. Wait 15 minutes. Don’t flush. If any color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Faucets: A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons a year! Replace old and worn out faucet pieces like washers and o-rings to stop a leaky faucet. To save more water without a noticeable difference in flow, twist on a water-efficient kitchen or bathroom faucet aerator.
  • Fixtures: If it’s time to replace a toilet, faucet, or showerhead, look for models labeled with the WaterSense logo. WaterSense fixtures are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as (or better than) standard models.

Toilet leak detection tablets, bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators, and high-efficiency showerheads are available to Portland Water Bureau customers for free. The Portland Water Bureau also offers rebates for WaterSense-labeled toilets and irrigation controllers.

Join Our Team: Water Service Inspector I

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 
Water Service Inspector I  Full Time  $23.52 - $27.58 Hourly

Mon. 3/29/17 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.