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Bull Run Filtration Good Neighbor Agreement

Information
The Water Bureau worked with community members to develop a Bull Run Filtration Good Neighbor Agreement that will help make sure neighbors' interests are considered during design, construction, and ongoing operation of the future water filtration facility.
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Committed to being a Good Neighbor

Aerial image overlaid with a modeled image showing a grouping of white rectangles in the left center of a larger property .
Conceptual site layout for the future water filtration facility in eastern Multnomah County.

The Portland Water Bureau has been supplying clean, safe drinking water to the Portland area for more than 100 years. Today, we need to make important improvements to our water system to comply with federal and state drinking water regulations. These improvements include building a new water filtration facility in eastern Multnomah County.

We have an opportunity with the new filtration facility to make sure it is compatible with its neighborhood setting. We have asked site neighbors for feedback on facility design, construction, operation, and communications. We used input from the Bull Run Filtration Site Advisory Group and other community members to develop a Good Neighbor Agreement that will help make sure neighbors’ interests are considered through the life of the project and beyond.

Good Neighbor Agreement

This agreement reflects a good faith effort and commitment to design the filtration facility to be compatible with its surroundings and to continue to be a good neighbor during construction and ongoing operation of the facility. This agreement reflects our current understanding of future conditions and plans. As circumstances change, we anticipate potential updates to the agreement may be needed to reflect shared goals.

Agreement Process

Image of Commissioner Fritz speaking at a Site Advisory Group meeting
Meetings since October 2019 with Site Advisors and project staff are informing the Good Neighbor language.

The agreement was developed through more than a year and a half of community engagement to understand preferences and concerns. This engagement included:

  • Information sharing and discussion during regular monthly Site Advisory Group meetings held from October 2019 to June 2021.
  • Community feedback surveys from April 2020 to June 2021.
  • Online Neighbor Open House in September 2020.

Agreement Components

The agreement documents our commitments to filtration facility neighbors and reflects community preferences and feedback related to the following elements: 

  • Communications
  • Facility Architectural Design
  • Facility Lighting Design
  • Facility Sound Design
  • Site Landscape Design
  • Site Stormwater Management
  • Facility Construction
  • Facility Operation

We identified the topic elements in the Good Neighbor Agreement using community feedback gathered during the October 2019 Site Advisory Group meetings and then refined through feedback in subsequent meetings and online surveys. 

Communications

Commit to maintaining ongoing two-way communications with facility site neighbors and stakeholders to identify opportunities and resolve concerns during design, construction, and ongoing operations of the filtration facility.

Strategies will include: 

  • Providing regular project updates through the Bull Run Treatment Projects e-newsletter.
  • Maintaining up-to-date information on the project website (portland.gov/bullrunprojects).
  • Providing in-person or virtual informational updates and opportunities for discussion to Site Advisors at key design milestones and at least quarterly throughout construction.
  • Providing two weeks advance notice of lane closures or anticipated traffic delays during construction activities when feasible.
  • Continuing outreach to local businesses to help identify strategies to reduce potential traffic impacts from construction activities.
  • Dedicating a communications lead during design and construction of the facility, who will respond to emails or phone calls within two business days. 
  • Sharing contact information for the identified communications point person once the facility is in ongoing operations.

Facility Architectural Design

Design filtration facility structures to be as unobtrusive as possible to neighboring properties and to be in keeping with the agricultural and rural nature of the local surroundings.

Strategies will include:

  • Designing structures with a low profile wherever operationally feasible.
  • Using natural-looking building materials and finishes that have muted, earth tones to help integrate the facility with the surrounding landscape. 
  • Using design attributes of the agrarian and Pacific Northwest architectural styles to help the facility fit in with the surrounding community.
  • Screening the site approach with landscaping and by setting the entry gate back from the perimeter.
  • Fencing only the area needed and leveraging landforms and landscaping where possible to help screen security fencing for the facility.
  • Placing the communications tower in a location to help reduce visual impacts.

Facility Lighting Design

Use design best practices to help shield the filtration facility lighting at the source and minimize night-time impacts to neighboring properties and wildlife. The facility lighting will be designed to comply with Multnomah County’s applicable lighting standards.

Strategies will include:

  • Designing lighting levels to be no brighter than necessary for operational safety and facility security around and within the facility.
  • Limiting exterior lighting to areas where needed for operational safety and facility security.
  • Using fully shielded fixtures that direct light downwards so that light is contained on site.
  • Using separate modes of lighting for routine night-time operation and for emergency and critical maintenance scenarios to help reduce potential off-site lighting impacts.
  • Leveraging use of landforms and landscaping at site edges where possible to help shield facility lighting.

Facility Sound Design

Use various noise-limiting design measures to help reduce off-site sound impacts from the filtration facility. The facility will be designed to comply with applicable Multnomah County and Clackamas County sound standards.

Strategies will include:

  • Designing pumps, equipment, and facility processes to mitigate potential off-site noise impacts.
  • Leveraging use of landforms and landscaping where possible to help block sounds.
  • Designing facility to meet code limit of 60 decibels during daytime and 50 decibels at night, as measured by the applicable county standards.

Site Landscape Design

Use various landscaping design strategies to help buffer and screen views of the filtration facility from neighboring properties.

Strategies will include:

  • Designing landscape buffers with native plantings that encourage pollinators.
  • Using native forest with plant understory and meadow with stands of native trees to help buffer the facility from neighboring properties.

Site Stormwater Management

Incorporate stormwater management strategies into the facility and site design to match current normal stormwater flows.

Strategies will include: 

  • Working with adjacent site neighbors to develop a better understanding of current stormwater conditions and how water leaving the site affects them.
  • Using stormwater swales and basins throughout the site to manage runoff during normal and large storm events.
  • Using trees, understory plants, and groundcover dispersed through the site to hold and transpire stormwater.
  • Continuing outreach to Johnson Creek Watershed Council to discuss stormwater management concepts.

Facility Construction

Take steps during facility construction to prioritize safety of the community and workers and to minimize disruption to neighboring homes and businesses.

Strategies will include:

  • Sequencing construction activities to help reduce truck traffic impacts on local roads.
  • Providing signage and traffic control when temporary lane closures or detours are needed.
  • Maintaining access to emergency vehicles and homes during construction.
  • Using temporary sound-reducing strategies where practical to help reduce off-site sound impacts from facility construction activities.
  • Working with local authorities to understand maintenance and restoration needs for local roads used to access the facility site during construction.
  • Providing notice to neighbors of seasonal changes in normal construction work hours.

Facility Operations

Plan facility operations with the goal of making the facility as unobtrusive as possible to site neighbors while reliably delivering clean, safe drinking water to customers.

Strategies will include:

  • Selecting inherently safer technologies and implementing safety protocols for delivery and storage of treatment chemicals.
  • Planning for educational facility tours to be guided and by scheduled appointment.
  • Considering a primary site access for ongoing facility operation, with a less frequently used secondary access.
  • Specifying preferred delivery times in contracts with vendors.

How will the agreement be used?   

The agreement reflects our commitments to filtration facility neighbors. Some examples of how the agreement will help guide the Bull Run Filtration Project include: 

  • Communications: Water Bureau staff will keep neighbors informed before, during, and after construction as detailed in the agreement. 
  • Design: The agreement will be used by the engineering team during design to make sure the filtration facility is well adapted to its rural setting. 
  • Construction: The contractor will follow the guidelines outlined in the agreement to minimize impacts over the construction period. 
  • Ongoing Operations: The filtration facility staff will follow the actions detailed in the agreement to be a good neighbor once construction is completed.

How can I stay informed?   

To hear about design progress and upcoming opportunities to provide input, sign up to receive our Bull Run Treatment Projects e-newsletter.

Beginning fall 2021, we plan to host quarterly neighbor information sessions to share project progress as the filtration facility design moves forward.   

Scheduled Filtration Neighbor Information Sessions

  • September 2021 
  • January 2022