Update: Crews contain sewage release under N Columbia Boulevard; road closure continues, advisory continues for Columbia Slough

Press Release

City crews working overnight and today have contained - but not stopped - a large-scale sewage release that is occurring under the N Columbia Boulevard Bridge in industrial North Portland. 

Crews working overnight and today are using barriers to contain the sewage that has surfaced from a broken pressurized pipe at the base of the bridge. They are pumping that effluent back into the city’s system to prevent further impacts to the environment. 

The incident is complex, and will require at least two weeks for repairs. Crews are maintaining service to customers in the area while assessing the extent of damage to the pressurized pipe and nearby pump station, as well as to the base of the bridge itself. 

Environmental Services continues to advise the public to avoid contact with the waters of the Columbia Slough until this incident is resolved. Warning signs have been placed at several points along the slough around the affected area. 

N Columbia Boulevard will remain closed through at least next week between N Rivergate and N Burgard roads to allow for further assessment and repairs. A detour is in place.

Engineers with the Portland Bureau of Transportation are working with Environmental Services to assess whether the ramp to the Columbia Boulevard overpass is damaged. The flow of high pressure sewage inside the ramp structure may have damaged the ramp or soils supporting it. 

Crews working to contain a sewage release at the base of the Columbia Boulevard overpass near the Columbia Slough. Red tape contains the site at the bridge base with heavy equipment in the background.

With this risk, PBOT emphasizes the importance of obeying all road closure signage and detours. Traffic, including heavy freight trucks, could exacerbate any damage and extend the time needed for any repairs.  Crews will reinforce the road closure with additional barriers, and may adjust the detour route to accommodate weekday traffic.

The original news release was issued yesterday. 

About Environmental Services
Environmental Services - the City of Portland’s sewer and stormwater utility - protects public health and the environment by collecting and recovering resources from the city’s wastewater, managing stormwater, and restoring and protecting Portland’s rivers, streams, and watersheds. 


Diane Dulken

Public Information Officer