Portland’s 50 sinkholes caused by leaking pipes?

At least two of the sinkholes concentrated in North Portland caused by pipes

PORTLAND. Ore. (KOIN 6) – More than 50 sinkholes have opened up across Portland, according to the city’s Bureau of Environmental Services, but many are concentrated in North Portland.

Meanwhile, nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding Roosevelt High School are concerned.

As pipes under the city’s streets age, the roadway above lacks support.

“Almost always it is a broken water line underneath the ground, either water pipe or sewer pipe or something that carries water,” said Portland State University professor of geology Scott Burns.

Portland State Geologist Doctor Scott Burns warns that Portland is in earthquake country and locals need to prepare for the so-called “big one,” April 1, 2014. (KOIN)
Portland State Geologist Doctor Scott Burns warns that Portland is in earthquake country and locals need to prepare for the so-called “big one,” April 1, 2014. (KOIN)

Burns said although the holes are common in Portland, there is no risk of large scale sinkholes – ones large enough to swallow a home – opening up here because the city is not built on limestone.

He said it remains a mystery why North Portland has become a hot bed for sink holes.

A Portland Bureau of Developmental Services spokesperson said two of the holes, it’s confirmed, were caused by leaking water pipes.

Burns stressed there is an urgency to fixing the holes as soon as possible.

“If it is a broken water pipe then that cavity is going to keep getting bigger and bigger and the danger of bigger things falling in could be happening so it needs to be repaired,” he said. The Bureau of Developmental Services said both the holes cause by leaking pipes will likely be fixed within the month.

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