PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Big changes are coming to Washington Park and the reservoirs that have been there for more than a century.
This is a big project the Portland Water Bureau says has to happen.
There are several concerns being addressed by the project. Age is a big factor because the reservoirs were only designed to last 100 years but they were built in 1894.
There is also the risk of a major earthquake.To keep up with federal requirements that say no more open-air reservoirs, a 12.5 million gallon reservoir will go underground.
Chief engineer Teresa Elliott says the $190 million project, paid for by bonds, will take care of the concerns and make the drinking water better.
“If the pipes break or if the reservoir breaks, you have no water going anywhere on the west side of town,” Elliott said. “We need the reservoir back so that when the seismic event happens, we actually have storage on the west side of town.”
In 8 years, there will be a tiered reflecting pool where the current reservoir is, maintaining a nice look. The historic gate house will also stick around as part of a restoration project.
Construction begins in the near future with heavy machinery and road closures to come.