WaterWorks | January/February 2011 

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In this issue:
Reservoir construction update

 Pipeline work will affect roadways

 Powell Butte Heights Homeowner's Association

 Meet the Team: Kevin Duff

DuffJLAMeet the Team
Kevin Duff PB Caretaker
Kevin Duff, Caretaker at Powell Butte Nature Park. (Photo credit: Raymond Walton.)


As an employee of the Portland Water Bureau, Kevin Duff's job as the Powell Butte Nature Park Caretaker fits him like a well-worn pair of work boots. For the past three years Kevin has served as caretaker and park steward. He clears out invasive species, plants trees and shrubs, maintains the park facilities, removes graffiti and - perhaps most importantly - helps the public appreciate and protect the park's flora and fauna. It is in this stewardship role that Kevin is the public face for both the Water Bureau and Portland Parks & Recreation.


Kevin interacts frequently with park users, answering questions, giving directions, and also reminding people of the park rules that help ensure that the area's natural resources and wildlife are protected for all to enjoy. From routine reminders about keeping dogs on leashes and staying on approved trails, to talking with people about more serious infractions (taking plants, trees and wood from the park, or dumping trash), Kevin helps park users understand that even picking a few ripe blackberries affects the balance of the park's ecosystem.


"Many people don't think about the aggregate effect of the over 100,000 people a year using these 600 acres," he says. "They don't see the impact of their one small action. The resources to support wildlife here are very thin."


Kevin says that one of the more rewarding aspects of his job is seeing the return of wildlife species that have been absent from the park for some time. He has seen Meadowlark, California quail, Savannah sparrow, Harrier hawks and Northern shrike. The presence of these and other bird species is a positive sign that the park can provide healthy habitat for wildlife as well as be a place for people to enjoy.  

Learn more
Portland Water Bureau/Powell Butte Reservoir

Portland Parks & Recreation/Powell Butte Nature Park

Friends of Powell Butte

Centennial Neighborhood Association

Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association

Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association

Northwest Trail Alliance

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

Reservoir construction will begin this summer

The second phase of the Powell Butte Reservoir 2 project is slated to begin this summer and be completed by winter 2013. The process for construction contractors to bid on the project is anticipated to open March 8, 2011. The City anticipates awarding the contract in April 2011.

The scope of work includes constructing the new 50-million-gallon reservoir, pipelines, valves, and large flow-meter vaults (both inside and outside of the Powell Butte Nature Park), and site electrical and instrumentation improvements. The project also will include building a new interpretive center, a new parking lot, a maintenance facility, and a single-family residence that will serve as the caretaker's home. Other park improvements include trail upgrades and changes, and new landscaping.

Oregon State law (ORS 279) requires public agencies to bid and award projects to the lowest responsive bidder. The Portland Water Bureau is pre-qualifying all bidders to ensure that only qualified bidders are submitting proposals. The Phase 2 cost of construction will be known after bids are opened and the City completes negotiations with the winning contractor.
rainfilled reservoir site
Photo: Excavation site awaits summer construction of the new reservoir.

pipesPipeline work will impact roadways

Connecting new pipelines from the new reservoir into the current water system, and constructing new or strengthening existing valve vaults, is work that will impact at least five neighboring streets for three to five months during the next phase of the project.


The new and existing valves - which direct water throughout the system - are housed in large underground concrete "bunkers." In some locations, no houses or roads existed when these pipelines and vaults were originally constructed. The contractor will need to excavate a large work zone in the street in order to construct or reinforce the valve vaults and lay new pipe. This will require a variety of traffic flow changes, from reducing lanes to detours. City staff will be communicating early and often with residents in the affected areas.


sample vault installationPhoto: Valve vaults like this one used in a downtown Portland water project will be installed in several streets around Powell Butte during the next phase of the project.


Teresa Elliott, reservoir project manager and principal engineer, says that work on the existing water system will be sequenced in order to maintain system operations and reduce neighborhood impacts. A conscious effort also will be made to keep sidewalks open during construction. Work on existing pipes on the butte will be scheduled during low-demand periods, typically October to April.


The pipeline and vault work located in the public right-of-way is expected to have the greatest impact on these locations:


* SE 147th Avenue and SE Powell Boulevard

* SE 162nd Avenue and SE Division Street

* SE 159th Avenue and SE Harrison Street

* Anderegg Loop where it crosses Conduit 5


Once the general contractor is hired and a schedule is determined, Portland Water Bureau public outreach staff will be communicating regularly with affected neighborhoods and area businesses to keep them informed about changes in traffic flow and access. This e-newsletter also will include updates related to traffic and neighborhood impacts.


HOAPartner Focus:
Powell Butte Heights Homeowner's Association

Dick Hall has been a member of the Powell Butte Heights Homeowner's Association for 12 years. He lives in one of the 76 homes that occupy the property abutting the east side of Powell Butte Nature Park. Residents like Dick were greatly impacted by the first phase of the reservoir project, from the noise of trucks passing on the nearby haul road to the changes in trails and park access points. When Phase 2 begins, Dick and his fellow HOA members will be impacted by the work of installing a large section of conduit to supply the reservoir and related valve vault, as well as truck noise.


What could be a recipe for disgruntled citizens has instead been an example of community outreach done right. "Tim Hall has done an excellent job," says Dick. (Tim is a PWB senior public outreach coordinator.) "Before and during the project, Tim gave us a lot of information on the impacts of the work, the number of trucks that would be using the road, and how the City would take care of dust. He met with us as an association regularly and made it as painless as possible by giving us an overview of what would happen, when and how. Having a single point of contact helped a lot."


The HOA will be impacted during Phase 2 of the project when the pipeline work begins. Dick says he feels confident that the Water Bureau will continue to keep the HOA informed. "Tim will make sure we know when it's coming and how it will impact our properties. Tim and the engineers will come out to talk with us and stake out where the pipeline will go, and we can put that information in our newsletter," says Dick.


The property the HOA occupies was once part of the former Anderegg Dairy. The 600 acres on top of the butte were sold to the City in 1925 and in 1987 became Powell Butte Nature Park. When a housing developer purchased the Powell Butte Heights property, the City required that an HOA be created. Over time, management of the HOA transitioned from a management company to the property owners. Dick currently serves as president of the association.

CONTACT TIM HALL, CITY OF PORTLAND WATER BUREAU | Tim.Hall@portlandoregon.gov | 503.823.6926