WaterWorks | May 2010 

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In this issue:
Digging ends for now...maybe

Stay safe, stay out

Trail Plan

Partner Focus - NW Trail Alliance

Eye in the sky

EyeEye in the sky
helicopter and Stephen
The Portland Water Bureau has been using aerial photography to document and monitor construction activity on Powell Butte throughout the project. Each month, Northwest Aero Pix, LLC uses a six-foot-long helicopter equipped with a camera to photograph the same nine areas of the site. By "stitching" four of five of the images together, Northwest Aero Pix provides a panoramic view of the site, as well as individual section shots.
helicopter and Stephen
Capturing the images is a two-person job. Lawrence Dennis is the pilot. He operates the 30-pound helicopter - named "The Mongoose" - while the camera operator, Stephen Burtt, looks at a live video feed and instructs the pilot where to position The Mongoose, using GPS and telemetry from the helicopter.

The Water Bureau uses the aerial images to complement the on-the-ground monitoring continually being done.  These images - along with aerials taken by airplane during construction of the first reservoir - comprise a good record of construction activity that has occurred on Powell Butte over the years, as well as changes in the landscape.
Learn more
Portland Water Bureau/Powell Butte Reservoir

Portland Parks & Recreation/Powell Butte Nature Park

Friends of Powell Butte

Northwest Trail Alliance

Read past issues
Road Ahead
Visit our archives to read past issues of WaterWorks.

Digging phase ends, but may start up again soon

excavation May 2010On Wednesday, May 5 at 3:45 p.m., the first phase of excavation for the second reservoir on Powell Butte was completed. Nutter Corporation's dump truck hauled away the last load of the 323,000 total cubic yards of material under its contract. Shortly thereafter, backhoes and bulldozers also began leaving the five-acre site.

While the Phase 1 excavation is done, Nutter still will be onsite off and on through the summer, completing minor site development work including potholing, constructing temporary parking lots on SE Holgate and SE Center Streets, replacing erosion control, adding fencing, and repairing roads and culverts in preparation for Phase 2.

The second phase of construction - the concrete work - is currently scheduled to begin in spring 2011. An earlier schedule had the work starting this summer, but delays to the start of the project have had a rippling affect. The Water Bureau is considering whether to take advantage of the warmer summer weather to get a head start on digging down another 5 to 10  feet, close to what will be the base of the new reservoir. This work may be done by Nutter. With rain likely next spring, project engineers believe it may be advantageous to dig sooner than later.


Stay safe, stay out

While some people may be curious to see the big hole, the Water Bureau still warns the public that the site is a hazardous construction zone. Public safety remains a top priority for the Water Bureau. Anyone found inside the construction perimeter is subject to being banned from the park indefinitely. Please obey all signs to stay on designated park trails. The public's cooperation is appreciated. The Water Bureau plans to conduct a public tour of the new reservoir site during the summer, once all construction work is completed.


Trail plan protects, preserves, provides access

The improvements to Powell Butte Nature Park include a proposed trail system focused on protecting natural resources, minimizing impacts to wildlife, avoiding erosion, and providing public access to a variety of trails.

The Powell Butte trail system currently totals just over 10 miles.  There are trails across the butte except in the wildlife habitat set-aside area. Some trails have specific designated uses - hiking, bicycling and equestrian, but most are multi-use. Some of the existing trails are eroding, steep or wet during the winter. The construction of the reservoir gave Portland Parks & Recreation and the Portland Water Bureau the opportunity to evaluate and improve the existing trail system, which will include realigning some trails and closing others.

The Project Advisory Committee and City staff gave input and reviewed three trail plan alternatives produced by the consultant team. They agreed on a proposed plan that is similar to the current trail system, but improved to meet the goals for the new trail system. The proposed plan and supporting documents can be viewed on the City's website.

In addition, the trails on the butte will be getting new directional signage, making it easier to get around. Each trailhead will feature new maps and interpretive displays welcoming visitors to the park. A short, accessible, interpretive trail loop beginning near the Interpretive Center will introduce visitors to the habitats and signature species of each habitat on the butte.


Partner focus - Northwest Trail Alliance

Hikers, birders, runners, bikers... people of all stripes enjoy Powell Butte, and all have an interest in protecting the many recreational opportunities available there.

The Northwest Trail Alliance is a group of mountain
Friends of PB trail volunteer #1 bikers and off-road cyclists dedicated to creating, enhancing and protecting riding opportunities in NW Oregon and SW Washington. The group advocates for access to trails and responsible mountain biking. It also works to build and maintain trails, including coordinating with Portland Parks & Recreation to maintain the trails on Powell Butte.

Ray Bailey is a long-time member of Northwest Trails Alliance. He is also a member of Friends of Powell Butte Nature Park. Rays says he appreciates places like Powell Butte and Forest Park that he and other bicyclists can access year-round to get exercise, since other trails they enjoy are farther away and are snow-bound part of the year. Ray says that people and wildlife can share places like Powell Butte; he's seen deer on the trails many times. Ray adds that one of the best ways bicyclists can keep the trails in good shape is to watch their speed. Riders going too fast contribute to trail degradation. Riders also need to keep their eyes open for people and pets on the trails, he says.

You can join Ray and others at a monthly work party on Powell Butte and other city parks where bicyclists ride. Find out more and learn about the Northwest Trail Alliance at http://nw-trail.org/.

CONTACT TIM HALL, PORTLAND CITY WATER BUREAU | TimH@ci.portland.or.us | 503.823.6926