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Portland Water Bureau Shows Off New Reservoirs


The Portland Water Bureau conducted tours of its new covered reservoirs at Kelly Butte Tuesday.

Portland Water Bureau engineers stand on top of a pair of new covered reservoirs at Kelly Butte.

Portland Water Bureau engineers stand on top of a pair of new covered reservoirs at Kelly Butte.

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

They’ve been designed to withstand a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

They replace a much smaller tank, built in the 1960s when Oregon’s earthquake risk was not as widely understood.

Water Bureau engineer Teresa Elliott said the work came in about $15 million under budget, because the original estimates were made before the 2008 economic crisis.

“We had planned on a lot higher prices and then we were able in construction to save a lot of money on what we thought we would need for it,” Elliott said.

Concrete and reinforcing steel bars cost significantly less than expected.

Overflow pipes from the new Kelly Butte reservoirs

Overflow pipes from the new Kelly Butte reservoirs

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Portland is under a federal mandate to cover all its open reservoirs by the end of 2020.

Facilities at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park remain uncovered.

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