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Washington Park Reservoirs construction updates

Capital Improvement Project
Under Construction
Construction at the Washington Park Reservoirs started in 2016 and will continue until 2025. Read on for the most recent update.
2016 through 2025
On this Page

The Water Bureau has replaced its original 1894 reservoirs with a new 12.4-million-gallon, seismically reinforced underground reservoir. This reservoir supplies water to Portland’s west side and serves more than 360,000 people, including all downtown businesses and residents, 20 schools, 5 hospital complexes, and more than 60 parks.

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This photo shows the top of the reservoir during record heat in June 2021. The web cam allows people from all over the world to view reservoir construction from the comfort of their own homes.
Click here to view our live webcam

In June 2021, the Water Bureau achieved a major milestone – activating the 12.4-million-gallon reservoir at Washington Park. The last major concrete pour to build the Washington Park Reservoir was in December 2020. Since then, crews have tested the reservoir cells to make sure they are sanitized and water tight. With this work completed, the reservoir was put in use for drinking water and emergency planning on June 29.

Intermittent closures of Madison Trail  

Illustrated map shows the closure of Madison Trail between SW Sacajawea Boulevard and SW Canyon Road

This trail was closed during spring 2021 to keep park users safe from construction trenches and heavy equipment. The trail will be open on a more regular basis starting in July.

What’s next

The reservoir is serving water, but work on the site will continue. Over the summer, crews will:

  • install large blocks of an industrial compressible foam along the south and west sides of the reservoir to protect it from ground movement
  • remove hillside supports along the eastern edge of the reservoir and backfill the hillside and surrounding area
  • place a drainage system and gravel on top of the new reservoir.

Then, over the next two years, there will be a pause in construction to allow for soil to settle. Once the soil has settled, the bureau can begin to build a beautiful reflecting pool, a lowland habitat area and bioswale, and historic interpretive elements. During the construction pause, work will continue on the south side of the worksite to enhance safety features and replace outdated mechanical systems inside of the hypochlorite building. This allows us to add chlorination for the future reflecting pool on top of the reservoir. When this project is completed in 2025, the public will enjoy unprecedented access to the area surrounding the historic reservoirs.

Park openings and closures

Visit the Explore Washington Park COVID-19 resource page for updated maps and information about Washington Park openings, closures, and safety.