Article 1 Water Works

City Charter Article

Section 11-101 General Authority.

The City may construct, reconstruct, purchase or otherwise acquire, keep, maintain, improve, alter and change water works and all plants and facilities found appropriate by the Council for furnishing water to the City, its property, its inhabitants, and the places and people along or in the vicinity of the pipes, conduits or aqueducts constructed or used for that purpose.  The City may acquire by purchase or otherwise, own and possess real and personal property or interests therein, within and without the limits of the City, which the Council finds necessary or convenient.  The Council may establish and maintain headworks and supply sources, with all convenient reservoirs, tanks, pumps, supply systems, distribution and related facilities, including land and interests in land; may enter into mutual aid agreements with other government entities, tribes and utilities; and may acquire other water systems serving property within present or future boundaries of the City.  The Council may make all necessary expenditures to carry out these purposes and may enter into contracts for supply of water by the City or supply of water to the City or its inhabitants.  Any surplus water may be sold to persons, public or private, outside the City, on terms and conditions the Council finds appropriate.  [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966; am. Dec. 4, 2019.]

Section 11-102 Administration.

The City may employ personnel, contract for services and perform services under contract or otherwise, found necessary or convenient to carry out the powers granted in this Article. The Council may obtain materials and supplies and do any acts in the operation, maintenance, improvement and extension of City water works which the Council finds necessary or advantageous.

The Council may prescribe regulations relating to water supply, distribution and service, and may impose conditions, and require deposits or cost contributions for water main extensions and water distribution system. The Council may rent or lease equipment or facilities to or from others, and may sell or otherwise dispose of City property, facilities, supplies or equipment, as it finds convenient.

In the Bureau of Water, the Engineer in charge of the engineering staff, the person in charge of the business office, and the head of the Bureau shall not be subject to Civil Service requirements of this Charter. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 11-103 Water Bonds.

In order to provide funds for construction, reconstruction, replacement, extension, acquisition and maintenance of water plant and property, and the acquisition of water systems, the Council may issue bonds of the City in denominations and for terms the Council determines, in the same manner other bonds of the City are issued. These bonds shall be general obligations of the City, but primarily payable from water revenue. These bonds shall not be included within the debt limit elsewhere prescribed in this Charter. No bonds shall be issued under this section in any year which, with the net outstanding water bond indebtedness, would exceed the total original cost of existing plant and property of the water works and system. [Nov. 8, 1932, new sec. 228-1/2; 1942 recod., sec. 11-201; am. May 16, 1952; rev. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 11-104 Funds.

After payment of expenses for issuance of water bonds, the proceeds shall be placed in the Water Construction Fund.

Money from the sale of water and charges related to water works or service shall be placed in the Water Fund. After deducting sinking fund requirements, operating expenses of the water works and plant and the Water Bureau, which may include depreciation on plant and property, and maintenance expense found necessary or appropriate, the Council may transfer any excess in the Water Fund to the Water Construction Fund.

The Council may make transfers between funds in the Water Bureau, but the funds and accounts of the Water Bureau relating to water plant and works shall be separate from other accounts and funds of the City and treated as a separate municipal operation. The Council may impose charges it finds equitable upon the operation of the water system for municipal services of other departments, bureaus and officers, and may impose fees of the same character as for public utilities. Otherwise, money in the Water Fund or the Water Construction Fund shall not be transferred to the General Fund of the City, nor to special funds unrelated to the water works, water system and the sinking funds for water bond debt service. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 11-105 Rates and Charges.

For each fiscal year the Council shall fix water rates which will provide an estimated income to equal expenses and debt service relating to water bonds. No charge shall be made for water used in extinguishing fires in the City.

The Council may fix special charges for connections, disconnections, turn-ons, discontinuances of service, all special services or work, and other contingencies, situations or conditions, which it finds advantageous or appropriate from time to time. Charges and bills may be adjusted as found just and equitable. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 11-106 Collections.

The Council may make regulations, impose conditions, penalties and forfeitures and institute civil or penal process it finds necessary or appropriate to collect bills for water or charges, and in addition may refuse or discontinue water service to premises for which a bill or charge remains unpaid. Penal enforcement is subject to the penalty limitations fixed in the Charter for ordinance violations. [New sec. Nov. 8, 1966.]

Section 11-107 Bull Run Watershed Protections.

The Bull Run Watershed Closure Area, as defined in City Code and containing the federally designated Bull Run Watershed Management Unit, is dedicated to the production of pure, high quality drinking water and the protection and stewardship of the Bull Run’s natural environment.  Policies and practices established in the Charter affecting City lands within the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit are constrained by and must conform with applicable federal and state law, federal and state administrative policy, and tribal treaty rights if any. Only the following individuals may enter City lands within the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area: authorized employees or authorized contractors of the United States Forest Service, the United States Bureau of Land Management, or the Portland Water Bureau; persons accompanied by such authorized employees; law enforcement personnel; or emergency response personnel.

Recreational use of City lands in the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area is prohibited. Residential, industrial or commercial uses are prohibited, except as necessary for protection, enhancement, operation or maintenance of the water supply system and facilities for electric power generation and transmission. Domestic animals may not run at large within the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area and grazing is prohibited.

Tree cutting or removal, including salvage, is prohibited on City lands within the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area except for the following purposes: protection, enhancement or maintenance of water quality; protection, enhancement or maintenance of water quantity;  construction, expansion, protection or maintenance of municipal water supply facilities;  construction, expansion, protection or maintenance of facilities for the transmission of energy through the Bull Run Watershed Management Unit or of hydroelectric facilities or hydroelectric projects associated with municipal water supply facilities; or management of dangerous or hazardous trees that pose a threat to human safety or City infrastructure.

City land or infrastructure within the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area that is integral to the delivery of municipal water shall not be transferred to any private entity.  City land or infrastructure within the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area that is integral to the delivery of municipal water shall not be transferred to any public entity unless the transfer is approved by ordinance passed by City Council. 

Development in the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area that is allowed by the Charter must first seek to avoid, then minimize and mitigate for impacts to water quantity and quality, cultural resources, and the natural environment including soils, vegetation, and fish and wildlife and related habitat, to the greatest extent practicable.  Public notice of development inside the Bull Run Watershed Closure Area is required and all development must comply with the Bull Run Watershed Protection provisions of the Portland City Code. [New sec. Dec. 4, 2019.]

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