Proposal aims to keep Portland's west side from losing water aft - KPTV - FOX 12

Proposal aims to keep Portland's west side from losing water after major quake

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A major earthquake would likely cut off water access to Portland’s west side for six months, according to Portland Water Bureau leaders, who presented their plan to prevent that from happening Thursday.

The bureau wants to install a 42-inch diameter, 4,000-foot-long pipe, called the Willamette River Crossing, 80 feet beneath the river bottom.

It would be built much deeper than current pipes, which are installed in liquefiable soils.

The proposed location for the crossing is just north of the Marquam Bridge.

The bureau is asking the Portland City Council to approve spending $40 million on construction for the project.

“We have six pipes that cross the river that supply central downtown. According to studies we’ve done, three of those six will break during liquefaction,” said Michael Stuhr, director of the Portland Water Bureau. “Then if you look at ODOT’s estimate of the damage to the bridges, the odds of us having any of those pipes working are pretty close to zero.”

The bureau's risk assessment shows there’s a 48 percent chance three of the central city crossings would fail simultaneously during a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, leaving Portland’s west side without water for up to six months, according to an exhibit provided to the council.

The council will vote on the proposal later this month.

If approved, construction would begin in 2018 and be complete by summer 2019.

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