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SW Market-Madison Sewer Project

Sewer and Stormwater
Environmental Services is designing the next in a series of projects to repair and replace aging public sewer pipes in downtown Portland that are in poor condition. The pipes require attention to reduce the risks of basement flooding and sewage releases to buildings and streets.
Project design will continue through early 2023. Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2023 and take a year to complete.

The existing pipes were built between 1870 and 1920. 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 from SW Madison to SW Market streets between SW Naito Parkway and I-405. 

What's Happening Now

The SW Market-Madison Sewer Project is in the design phase. Engineers and field crews are conducting various investigations to collect information that will help them determine what pipes need to be repaired or replaced and what construction methods to use for each pipe.  

We Want to Hear From You

During the design phase, Environmental Services will work with the community to provide information about the project and identify concerns. Downtown property owners, businesses, and residents can inform decisions and help the project team with the following: 

  • Identify project stakeholders, including property managers, facility managers, and business operators. 

  • Identify local issues, community concerns, special events, and access needs. 

  • Develop reasonable solutions to community concerns and construction impacts. 

  • Provide input on regular daytime (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and nighttime (6 p.m. to 7 a.m.) construction work hours. 

  • Provide information about private property sewer connections and plumbing facilities. 

  • Identify and meet the needs of individual downtown businesses, residents, property owners, and property managers. 

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: 

  • Questions: Call 503-823-5315, stating that SW Market–Madison is your area of concern. Outreach staff will return your call by the next business day. 

  • Sewer Emergency: In the event of a sewer backup or basement flooding, call the Maintenance hotline immediately at 503-823-1700. It is staffed all hours and all days, 24/7.

Construction Methods

The city’s goal is to repair the majority of pipes using trenchless methods, which will avoid having to dig deep and long trenches in downtown streets to replace whole pipes. The multiple underground utilities in the downtown area make open trench excavation almost impossible. News about specific construction methods to be used will be provided further in the design process.

What to Expect

The SW Market-Madison Sewer Project is being designed to accomplish the following sewer improvements: 

  • Repair 11,600 feet, or two miles, of aging public sewer pipes in from SW Market to SW Madison streets between SW Naito Parkway and I-405. 

  • Clear roots and flush debris from public sewer pipes in the project area. 

  • Repair, replace, or add maintenance access holes 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. 

In addition, Environmental Services will collaborate with the Portland Water Bureau where possible to replace their water lines with earthquake resistant pipe. 

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.

Sign Up for Updates

Sign up for updates at the SW Market-Madison Sewer Project

Other Work in the Area

For information about other sewer projects in downtown Portland, visit