information
Most City offices closed Wednesday, June 19, to observe Juneteenth

The City of Portland recognizes Juneteenth as a formal day of remembrance to honor Black American history and the end of slavery in the United States. Learn about Juneteenth.

SW Market-Madison Sewer Project

Sewer and Stormwater
Active
Environmental Services is constructing a project to repair 11,720 feet (more than two miles) of public sewer pipes in downtown Portland. Having provided up to 140 years of service, pipes require repairs to reduce the risks of basement flooding and sewage releases to downtown buildings and streets.
Construction is anticipated to begin in May or June and take a year and a half to complete.

Environmental Services recently completed construction of the SW Main-Taylor Sewer Project. The SW Market-Madison Sewer Project is the next in a series of projects to repair and replace aging public sewer pipes in downtown Portland that are in poor condition. The existing pipes were built between 1880 and 1992. They are showing signs of cracks, breaks, holes, offset connections, grease obstructions, and tree root intrusions. Timely repairs now will make them last another 80 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 SW 13th Avenue. 

SW Market-Madison project area is from SW Madison to SW Market streets between SW Naito Parkway and SW 13th Avenue.

General Schedule and Work Hours

Construction is anticipated to begin in May or June and take a year and a half to complete. 

In order to reduce public impacts and complete the work as quickly as possible, 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 may be done at night in some locations where levels of sewage and stormwater flows in the pipes are lower and less likely to negatively impact the lining.

What's Happening Now

Environmental Services and its contractors are preparing to begin construction.

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 may temporarily disrupt and delay traffic and will occur over time, not all at once.

Closed circuit television (CCTV) technology allows crews to see the locations of sewer lateral pipes which connect to the mainline sewer pipe. It also helps locate cracks, root intrusions, or other defects in the pipes.

Rest of This Week

Crews will conduct closed circuit television (CCTV) inspections of the mainline sewer pipe during daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • SW Columbia Street between SW 5th Avenue and SW Park Avenue
  • SW Jefferson Street between SW 12th Avenue and SW 13th Avenue
  • SW Market Street between SW 11th Avenue and SW 13th Avenue

Week of June 17

Crews will conduct closed circuit television (CCTV) inspections of the mainline sewer pipe during daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • SW Madison Street between SW 6th Avenue and SW Broadway
  • SW Madison Street between SW 2nd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue
  • SW Madison Street between SW 3rd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue
  • SW Jefferson Street between SW Naito Parkway and SW 1st Avenue
  • SW Columbia Street between SW 3rd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue
  • SW Clay Street between SW Park Avenue West and SW Jefferson Street
  • SW Clay Street between SW 3rd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue

There will be no work on Wednesday, June 19th, in observance of Juneteenth. 

Week of June 24

Crews will conduct closed circuit television (CCTV) inspections of the mainline sewer pipe during daytime hours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • SW Clay Street between SW Park Avenue and SW 11th Avenue
  • SW Columbia Street at SW Naito Parkway
  • SW Columbia Street between SW 3rd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue
  • SW Market Street between SW Naito Parkway and SW 1st Avenue
  • SW Market Street between SW 3rd Avenue and SW 4th Avenue
  • SW Clay Street between SW Park Avenue and SW 11th Avenue
  • SW Clay Street between SW 12th Avenue and SW 13th Avenue

What to Expect During Construction

You can expect the following activities and impacts during construction:

  • Work hours will be a combination of daytime (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and nighttime (6 p.m. to 7 a.m.) hours as needed to construct sewer repairs as quickly as possible with as little disruption as possible. 
  • Crews will set up safe work zones to protect crews and the public from the hazards associated with construction.
  • 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. 
  • Security patrol may be on-site for overnight work and some daytime work to help keep crews, pedestrians, and equipment safe in locations with heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • With the methods the contractor is using for this project, no CIPP lining odor is anticipated.
  • The City's contractors take care to keep noise, dust, vibration, odor, traffic delays, and other potential construction nuisances to a minimum.
  • Construction in downtown Portland requires coordination with multiple partners.

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

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.

Construction Methods

This project 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. The multiple underground utilities in the downtown area make major open trench excavation almost impossible. 

The project is currently designed to use the following construction methods:

  • Cured-in-Place-Pipe Lining (CIPP) to install liners that seal cracks, help prevent root intrusion, and restore the pipes to near-new condition.
  • Pipe Reaming to replace and upsize public sewer pipes in SW Madison Street and in SW Jefferson Street.
  • Horizontal Directional Drilling 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.

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, Pipe Bursting, or Pipe Reaming.

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.

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: Visit this project webpage for details and weekly updates; use the shortcut portland.gov/bes/market-madison.
  • 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 Market-Madison 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 Market-Madison 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

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

  • Repair 11,720 feet (more than two miles) of aging public sewer pipes in from SW Market to SW Madison streets between SW Naito Parkway and SW 13th Avenue. 
  • Upsize three public sewer mainline pipes to help prevent basement sewer backups. 
  • Install 12 maintenance access holes.
  • Install 4 cleanouts for access to maintain sewer pipes and other cleanouts needed for the CIPP Lining sewer repair method. 
  • Replace or repair 160 sewer service laterals that connect buildings to the public sewer. 
  • Clear roots and flush debris from public sewer pipes in the project area. 
  • Repair, replace, or add maintenance 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 11 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. Construction in downtown Portland requires coordination with multiple partners.

Sign Up for Updates

Sign up for periodic email or text message updates for the SW Market-Madison 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.