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Mount Tabor Reservoirs Construction Projects

In this historical black and white photo, construction workers climb and pose on the rebar supports at Mount Tabor Reservoir.
We're repairing and rebuilding features of the historic Mount Tabor reservoirs. This work began in November 2017 and continues today.
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In 2009, the Mount Tabor Historic Structures Report identified ways the City of Portland could preserve features of the historic reservoirs. To comply with a federal and state mandate, the Water Bureau disconnected these reservoirs from the water system in 2015. City Council also passed Resolution #37146 in 2015, dedicating $4 million to preservation, and calling on the Water Bureau and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association to work together on priorities. The planning and oversight team now includes the Water Bureau, Portland Parks and Recreation, the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, and Friends of Mt. Tabor Park.

In spring 2016, this team hired Rob Dortignacq, the architect who worked on the 2009 report, to write an update. Dortignacq updated the report with information about current conditions and construction costs. The 2016 Addendum produced by Dortignacq  allowed the team to set realistic priorities for the $4 million City Council had committed.

The team is now working with Akana, a Native American-owned, Northwest-based, professional services firm that helps clients plan, design, engineer, and manage projects in the built environment. Akana helps the team bundle, contract for, and manage the many tasks involved in the preservation projects.

Here are the reports:

Project updates

We started repairing and rebuilding historic features in November 2017. See below for details about what we've done so far and what's next.

Up next

Light fixture restoration: We contracted with Spring City to restore the 100-year-old light fixtures that were once part of the fences on Reservoirs 5 and 6. The restoration is complete, and the fixtures now meet current electrical and energy efficiency standards. 

The restored fixtures are being stored until we develop plans and specifications to bid and select an electrical contractor to install them on the fence light towers of Reservoir 5. We expect installation to begin mid-2023 and take about three months. Park visitors will experience few construction impacts, and neighbors and community members will be given ample notice ahead of any path closures or detours.

Gatehouse repairs: We initially planned to re-bid the work to hire a contractor to repair windows, doors, and balconies on all the gatehouses. To attract bidders, we have scaled back the scope of the project to limit the repairs on the windows and doors to Gatehouses 1 and 5. We expect to re-bid and finalize a contract in the next six months, and construction will likely begin in spring 2023.

Previous preservation work


Reservoirs 1, 5 and 6: Carlson Roofing repaired the roofs of structures at all three reservoirs.


Reservoirs 5 and 6: A contract was awarded to Berkley Tack in July 2020 to restore the fence and tapered towers with light fixtures surrounding the reservoirs.


Reservoir 1: To protect the structural integrity of the reservoir, the contractor cleaned the existing reservoir surface, replaced failed concrete, and filled voids using concrete grout. The reservoir was filled with water again in December 2019.

Reservoir 5: Concrete repairs were made to the reservoir parapet wall and the hypochlorite building. The reservoir was drained, cleaned, and filled in spring 2019. The Water Bureau and representatives from the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association and Friends of Mt. Tabor met on site to look at Reservoir 5 and evaluate its water level and appearance during the warm summer months. These observations informed the Mount Tabor Reservoir Management Plan.

Reservoir 6: Concrete repairs were made to the reservoir parapet wall.


Reservoir 1: Extensive concrete restoration work was done on the basin and walls. The weir building was re-roofed.

Reservoir 5: Concrete work on Gatehouse 5 was completed.

Reservoir 6: The reservoir was drained, cleaned, and filled again in late spring 2018. While it was empty, extensive concrete repair work was conducted on the basin and walls. The reservoir was drained and cleaned again in fall 2018 to repair leaks identified during a routine inspection.