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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
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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 reservoir roof surrounded by layers of soil and gravel that will settle around the site between 2021 and 2023..

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.

What’s next

This historic photo from the early 1900's shows two men standing on the Washington Park Reservoir Dam during construction. Text on the image reads, "We're letting gravity do its thing. The soil needs to settle to ensure this project is successful. The next phase of work will begin late 2023." Other text includes the project website, a short description of the reservoir project, and accessibility statement.

Caterpillars don’t become butterflies overnight; they wrap themselves up in a cocoon, take a pause, and then unravel in breathtaking beauty. Washington Park Reservoir is entering a similar stage right now. We’re covering the reservoir with gravel and soil, and will wait up to two years for gravity to do its work, settling the soil around the reservoir.

During the construction pause, work will continue on the south side of the worksite to replace outdated mechanical systems inside of the hypochlorite building and upgrade pump stations and transformers. 

In addition to building new walkways and a reflecting pool, we’ll plant native flowers and grasses, making a better habitat for wildlife, including butterflies. When we’ve completed the final stage, this park will transform into a vibrant public space we all can enjoy.

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.