Midway through Bull Run Filtration design

Blog Post
The Portland Water Bureau is midway through design of the planned water filtration facility and pipelines and on track to begin delivering filtered Bull Run water in September 2027.

The Bull Run Filtration Project will provide cleaner, safer drinking water to protect public health and comply with federal and state drinking water regulations. The Portland Water Bureau is midway through design of the planned water filtration facility and pipelines and on track to begin delivering filtered Bull Run water in September 2027.

  • Design underway 2020-22
  • Construction expected 2023-27
  • Filtered Bull Run water Sept. 2027

Updated pipeline routes

Map showing location of planned pipeline routes.
New seismically resilient pipelines will tie the planned water filtration facility to the existing Bull Run water system.

We're planning new seismically resilient pipelines to tie the water filtration facility into our existing Bull Run water system. We're also planning a local distribution main that will provide filtered water to our customers in the area, including four local water districts.

The new pipelines will improve overall water system reliability by allowing an aging segment of existing pipeline to be retired.

Through design, we're continuing to make decisions that balance performance and reliability goals with water rate affordability for current and future customers. This spring, we confirmed the amount of new pipelines could be reduced and still meet updated drinking water capacity needs. As a result, we're no longer planning new pipelines in Clackamas County for the Bull Run Filtration Project.

Facility design taking shape

The new water filtration facility is planned on roughly 95 acres of City of Portland property in eastern Multnomah County. We're designing the facility to be as unobtrusive as possible to neighboring properties and compatible with the agricultural and rural nature of the local surroundings.

Rendered image showing trees and buildings on the horizon.
Expected view from adjacent property looking east toward planned water filtration facility.
Modeled image showing trees and buildings on the horizon.
Expected view from SE Bluff Road looking north toward planned water filtration facility.

As part of that focus, we're working to keep the facility campus compact. The proposed facility layout allows room for property setbacks, environmental and view buffers, and potential for the eastern portion of the site to be returned to agricultural use.

The proposed design for the water filtration facility is informed by community input we've gathered through ongoing outreach to neighbors and other stakeholders.

Key features include:

  • Architectural elements, such as asymmetrical rooflines and use of earth-toned materials, to help integrate the building forms with the surroundings.
  • Low-profile buildings where operationally feasible.
  • Plantings and berms strategically positioned to help screen views of the facility from adjacent properties.
  • Stormwater swales and basins to help manage runoff and match current normal stormwater flows.
  • Communications tower tucked nearer the tree line and partially screened by a grove of trees.

Our commitments to ensure neighbors' interests are considered throughout the project are outlined in the Bull Run Filtration Good Neighbor Agreement.

Rendered image showing birds-eye-view of structures clustered on property with trees around the edges.
The proposed design incorporates features to respond to community input, including plantings to help buffer and screen views of the facility.

Entrances to the secure facility will be set back from the roadway and screened with plantings. The primary access is planned from SE Carpenter Lane (east of SE Cottrell Road). We're also planning emergency access to the site from SE Bluff Road.

We're continuing work with the counties on road, intersection, and driveway standards to understand what improvements may be needed.

Graphic showing treelined roadway with fenced gate in the distance.
Expected view from SE Carpenter Lane of the planned water filtration facility main entry, which will be set back from the road and screened with plantings.

Upcoming project milestones

We anticipate several milestones in 2022 as we work to complete detailed design.

These include:

  • Initiating a multi-step land use permitting process, beginning with a Multnomah County preapplication conference April 28.
  • Preparing construction management plans and traffic control measures to improve safety and reduce community disruption.
  • Submitting construction plans to the Oregon Health Authority in October to achieve the second of three major compliance milestones.

Throughout, we'll continue sharing information with the community through quarterly informational meetings and regular project e-newsletters.

Filtration neighbor information meetings

Attend an upcoming meeting or watch the recording to hear about design progress.

A chart showing the schedule of Bull Run Filtration Project phases to meet three key compliance milestones. The first date shown is December 2017 and the final date shown is September 2027.
Design of the planned water filtration facility and pipelines is underway with construction expected to start mid-2023.