SW Main-Taylor Sewer Project

Sewer and Stormwater
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Environmental Services is constructing a project to repair 10,765 feet, or two miles, of aging public sewer pipes in downtown Portland. Having provided 100 to 150 years of service, the pipes require repairs to reduce risks of basement flooding and sewage releases to downtown buildings and streets.
Construction began in January and will take a year to complete.
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The existing pipes were built between 1867 and 1927. They are showing signs of cracks, breaks, holes, offset connections, and root and grease obstructions. Timely repairs now will make them last another 65 years, increase their resiliency to earthquake damage, and provide safe and reliable sewer service to downtown Portland.

Project Area

The project boundary is SW Main, SW Salmon, and SW Taylor streets between SW Naito Parkway and SW 13th Avenue. 

SW Main-Taylor Sewer Project map of pipe work locations and construction methods.

General Schedule and Work Hours

Construction began in January and will take a year to complete. Work at each location will be done in phases, with periods of inactivity between each phase. Work at each location is expected to take between one and three weeks, including up to three nights to complete the Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) work. This does not include the Pre-Construction Activities necessary to prepare for construction at each location.

The City’s Noise Office granted Environmental Services a noise variance to allow a combination of daytime and nighttime work hours:

  • Daytime work will occur between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed. Hours may vary to limit traffic impacts. 
  • Nighttime work will occur between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays as needed. Hours may vary to limit traffic impacts and noise. 

The noisier work to dig small trenches and access pits will be done during the day. CIPP lining will be done at night when levels of sewage and stormwater flows in the pipes are lower and less likely to negatively impact the lining.

What’s Happening Now

Public sewer repairs continue throughout the project area. Construction will temporarily restrict some travel lanes and sidewalk crossings in work zones, remove on-street parking, and create traffic delays. Local access will be available for all buildings and parking garages.

Please obey all traffic control signs and follow the directions of flaggers. 

The Rest of This Week

Sewer construction will occur during daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the following locations:

  • SW 1st Avenue between SW Morrison Street and SW Yamhill Street: Potholing for utilities in preparation of mainline sewer repairs. Traffic going south on SW 1st Avenue will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the west side. The pedestrian sidewalk on the east side of the street will be closed. Other sidewalks will remain open.
  • SW 13th Avenue at SW Taylor Street: Potholing for utilities in preparation of mainline sewer repairs. Traffic will be routed to one lane, and the bike path will be closed. Bicyclists will merge with vehicle traffic north of SW Taylor Street.
  • SW Taylor Street between SW Park Avenue East and SW 10th Avenue: Cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) lining to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the north side of SW Taylor Street.
  • SW 4th Avenue at SW Taylor Street: CIPP lining to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the west side of SW 4th Avenue. The pedestrian crosswalk at SW 4th Avenue and SW Taylor Street will be closed. Other crosswalks will remain open. Bicyclists should use caution when travelling through the area.

Week of August 15

Sewer construction will occur during all hours of the day at the following locations:

  • SW 13th Avenue at SW Taylor Street: Maintenance hole installation and lateral connections to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, and the bike path will be closed. Bicyclists will merge with vehicle traffic north of SW Taylor Street.
  • SW Taylor Street between SW Park Avenue East and SW 10th Avenue: CIPP lining to repair the main sewer line. This work will require a full street closure of SW Taylor Street between the eastern portion of SW Park Avenue and SW 11th Avenue. SW Taylor Street will be inaccessible to through-traffic for the full day. Please plan to use alternate routes.
  • SW Main Street between SW 1st Avenue and SW 3rd Avenue: CIPP lining to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the south side of SW Main Street. The bike lane will remain open, but bicyclists should use caution when traveling through the area.
  • SW Taylor Street between SW Park Avenue East and SW 12th Avenue. CIPP lining to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane with parking impacts on the south side of SW Taylor Street. The south lane on SW Taylor between SW 10th Avenue and SW 11th Avenue will be completely closed. The pedestrian crosswalks at SW Taylor Street and SW 10th and SW 11th Avenues will be closed. Other crosswalks will remain open.

Week of August 22

Sewer construction will occur during daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the following locations:

  • SW 13th Avenue at SW Taylor Street: Maintenance hole installation in preparation of mainline sewer repairs. Traffic will be routed to one lane, and the bike path will be closed. Bicyclists will merge with vehicle traffic north of SW Taylor Street.
  • SW Salmon Street between SW Park Avenue East and SW 10th Avenue: Spot repairs to the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the south side of SW Salmon Street.
  • SW Taylor Street between SW 10th Avenue and SW 13th Avenue: Maintenance hole installation and CIPP lining to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the south side of SW Taylor Street. The pedestrian crosswalks at SW Taylor Street and SW 11th and SW 12th Avenues will be closed. Other pedestrian crosswalks will remain open.
  • SW Main Street between SW Park Avenue and SW 10th Avenue: Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and hand tunneling to repair the mainline sewer pipe. Traffic will be routed to one lane, with parking impacts on the south side of SW Main Street. The pedestrian crosswalk at SW 10th Avenue and SW Main Street will be closed. Other crosswalks will remain open. This work will require a full lane closure on the south side of SW Main Street until work is complete. Please plan to use alternate routes. 

All work is weather-dependent and subject to change.

Construction Methods

The city’s contractor will use several construction methods to repair or replace public sewer pipes. Most of the methods will be trenchless, although some of those methods will require digging access pits to install pipes. Trenchless methods avoid having to dig deep and long trenches in downtown streets to replace whole pipes.

Construction methods will include the following: 

  • Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) to install liners that seal cracks, help prevent root intrusion, and restore the pipes to near-new condition. With the methods the contractor is using for this project, no CIPP odor is anticipated.
  • Pipe Bursting and Pipe Reaming to replace and upsize public sewer pipes in SW Main Street and in SW 11th Avenue.
  • Microtunneling to upsize and replace public sewer pipes in SW Main Street at two intersections where several other underground public utilities are in close proximity to the public sewer.
  • Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) to construct sewer extensions and service laterals.
  • Open Trench Excavation to dig small trenches to replace short sections of broken pipe before repairing the entire mainline sewer pipe, and to construct sewer service laterals and access pits.
  • Vactor Excavation to install sewer cleanouts so that crews can access sewer connections to downtown buildings and maintain sewer service during repairs.
  • Grouting to inject grout into the soil surrounding a leaky sewer pipe and prevent water from getting into the pipe. 

Sewer Service Laterals

A sewer service lateral is a pipe that provides a public sewer connection for a house, business, or undeveloped property. It runs from the mainline public sewer in the street to the curb and connects to the property’s private sewer line, or is capped at the property line for future use, e.g., future development or resolution of a nonconforming sewer connection.

A sewer service lateral may be replaced using either the Open Trench Excavation method or a trenchless method such as Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining or Pipe Bursting.

The City of Portland is responsible for maintaining the public portion of the lateral sewer pipe from the mainline public sewer to the curb. The private property owner is responsible for maintaining the private lateral sewer pipe from the curb to the house or building.

Sewer Cleanouts

A sewer cleanout is a capped opening above the sewer service lateral that connects a building to the mainline public sewer. It enables crews to access and repair that connection. Cleanouts will be used to maintain sewer service during the pipe lining process, and to provide access for future maintenance.

Cleanouts are typically installed near the curb but may also be placed in the sidewalk or near the building. Sewer cleanout installation requires digging a hole where the cleanout will be located. This construction creates noise, vibration, and dust.

What to Expect During Construction

Environmental Services wants you to know what to expect during construction so you can plan ahead and be prepared. Sewer construction is disruptive to those who live and work in a project area. The city's contractors take care to keep noise, dust, vibration, odor, traffic delays, and other potential construction nuisances to a minimum. They also set up safe work zones to protect crews and the public from the hazards associated with construction. Learn more about What to Expect During Construction.

Pre-Construction Activities

Before repairs begin at each location, crews will be onsite to locate utilities, inspect and clean pipes, set up traffic controls and tree protections, stage equipment and materials, and set up sewer bypass systems to ensure uninterrupted sewer service. These Pre-Construction Activities will occur over time, not all at once:

  • Site visits and evaluation
  • Survey
  • Utility locates
  • Soil sampling and geotechnical investigations
  • Pipe cleaning and inspection
  • Pre-existing conditions photos
  • Tree trimming and protection
  • Erosion control
  • Equipment and material setup
  • Traffic control setup and on-street parking removal
  • Public information distribution

Traffic Controls

The city's contractor will work with the Portland Bureau of Transportation on street use permits and traffic control plans necessary to complete the public sewer repairs as quickly as possible. You can expect some on-street parking removal, traffic delays in and around the work zones, restricted or closed travel lanes, and restricted pedestrian crossings. Sidewalks will remain open. Local access will be provided to parking garages and businesses.

To avoid circling around construction to find parking, please use SmartPark garages

Security

Security patrol will be on-site for overnight work and some daytime work to help keep crews, pedestrians, and equipment safe in locations with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Site Visits and Building Investigations

Environmental Services and its contractors may need to enter buildings in the project area to gather information that will help them design and construct necessary sewer repairs. They may need access for any or all of the following activities:

  • Locate, inspect, and evaluate sewer and stormwater pipes and connections, sewer service laterals, cleanouts, sump pumps, and other private plumbing facilities.
  • Determine basement and sub-basement layouts, utility vault locations and elevators, parking garage layouts, and other private property features.
  • Survey existing sewers on private properties.
  • Identify and mark utilities in areas surrounding the sewer.
  • Collect and analyze soil and water samples.

Environmental Services and its contractors will coordinate with building managers and property owners to schedule site visits, arrange access, and conduct investigations as needed.

Extreme Weather

When high temperatures, extreme heat, near freezing temperatures, or extreme cold are in the weather forecast, crews may adjust schedules to protect workers from the dangers of heat stress and cold stress. When working in extreme weather environments, all City workers, contractors, and subcontractors must follow Oregon’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates and Environmental Services’ Heat Illness Safety and Health Plan and its Cold Stress Safety and Health Plan. You may see crews taking more frequent water and rest breaks, stopping work at noon, and taking other protective measures during extreme weather.

We Want to Hear From You

Environmental Services will inform residents and businesses about project activities and respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. The following resources will help you stay informed and report concerns:

  • Project Webpage: Use the shortcut "portland.gov/bes/main-taylor" to visit this project webpage.
  • Email Updates: To receive email or text message updates for this project, we encourage you to sign up now. Updates provided through our free GovDelivery subscription service are the best way to stay informed about what’s happening and what to expect. You can also sign up for bulletins on other projects and topics.
  • Questions: Call the message line at 503-823-5315, stating that SW Main-Taylor is your project of concern. Outreach staff will return your call by the next business day.
  • Nighttime Construction Noise Complaint: Call the noise hotline at 503-823-1338, stating that SW Main-Taylor is your area of concern. The noise hotline is monitored by site inspectors.
  • Sewer Emergency: In the event of a sewer backup or basement flooding, call the City Maintenance hotline immediately at 503-823-1700. It is staffed all hours and all days, 24/7.
  • Other Downtown Sewer Projects: For a list and maps of other downtown sewer projects, visit the program webpage. 

Project Background

Environmental Services designed the SW Main-Taylor Sewer Repair Project to accomplish the following sewer improvements:

  • Repair 10,765 feet, or two miles, of aging public sewer pipes in SW Main, SW Salmon, and SW Taylor streets between SW Naito Parkway and SW 13th Avenue.
  • Upsize or relocate 1,000 feet of sewer pipes in SW Main Street to accommodate increased sewage and stormwater flows.
  • Clear roots and flush debris from approximately 11,000 feet of public sewer pipes.
  • Repair, replace, or add maintenance access holes and storm drain inlets as needed.
  • Install cleanouts on sewer service laterals to high-rise buildings to enable future sewer maintenance access.
  • Repair or replace active sewer service laterals for individual property connections.
  • Assist and support customers with nonconforming sewer connections to achieve the recommended sewer connection for their property.
  • Collaborate with the Portland Water Bureau to replace water lines with earthquake resistant pipe.

Community Partners

Construction in downtown Portland requires coordination with multiple partners, including but not limited to the following:

  • Private Property Owners and Property Managers: We coordinate access to downtown buildings to investigate sewer and stormwater connections, determine basement layouts and utility vault locations, and install private plumbing modifications as needed to complete public sewer repairs.
  • TriMet: We ensure that our construction activities along MAX light rail tracks and bus routes do not conflict with public transit system improvements during the project.
  • Portland Bureau of Transportation: We apply for and comply with street use permits, on-street parking permits, approved traffic control plans, and construction contract specifications that reduce public inconvenience.
  • Contractors, Subcontractors, and Suppliers: We coordinate our work with contractors, subcontractors, and material and equipment suppliers, many of whom are serving multiple priority infrastructure projects for the City of Portland.
  • Downtown Businesses: Our goal is to reduce construction impacts to downtown businesses and their customers as much as possible. To avoid circling around construction to find parking, please use SmartPark garages. The nearest SmartPark garages are illustrated on the project map.
  • Downtown Residents: Our goal is to reduce construction impacts to downtown residents, hotel guests, and the houseless community.
  • Event Managers: Our goal is not to interfere with major downtown events.
  • Safety Officers: Our top priority is public health and safety—for our work crews and for the public—so we need to plan and schedule our work in a way that reflects that priority.

Sign Up for Updates

Sign up for periodic email or text message updates for the SW Main-Taylor Sewer Project through our free GovDelivery subscription service. These updates are the best way to stay informed about what’s happening and what to expect. You can also sign up for bulletins on other projects and topics. 


This project will help protect the health of the Willamette River Watershed.