Water main break floods downtown Portland streets, Hawthorne Bri - KPTV - FOX 12

Water main break floods downtown Portland streets, Hawthorne Bridge back open

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(photo courtesy Gloria Singh) (photo courtesy Gloria Singh)
(photo courtesy Gloria Singh) (photo courtesy Gloria Singh)

Crews faced a wet mess Sunday morning after a water main break flooded streets in downtown Portland near the Hawthorne Bridge.

The break led to street closures as crews from the Portland Water Bureau investigated the break, with Southwest 1st Avenue being closed between Southwest Jefferson Street and Southwest Salmon Street while Southwest Madison Street, Southwest Main Street and Southwest Salmon Street were closed from Southwest 1st to Southwest 2nd Avenue.

Water bureau crews were able to shut the water off to the area. Portland Fire and Rescue and the Portland Police Bureau also responded to the scene, and the Hawthorne Bridge was closed to traffic in both directions. 

According to PF&R officials, the break occurred in a 16-inch main. The cause of the break is still unknown, and officials said the damage to nearby businesses was minor. Water service to five commercial buildings was impacted by the break.

The water bureau also notes that some customers in the area may experience dirty water due to the agitation of sediment in the water lines, but adds that this should clear within a couple of hours.

For customers experiencing cloudy water, officials say to use the water to flush toilets but do not run it through filters, hot water heaters of washing machines. After water runs clear, the water bureau suggests homeowners run pipes around the house to clear out any sediment.

Gerard McAleese, the owner of Kells Restaurant & Pub, says he has been running the faucets inside his pub to clear out the murky water for hours. 

"Since then we haven’t been able to use any of the dishwashers, so we went with paper and plastic," he said. 

They also served bottled water and cans of soda. And the customers didn’t seem to mind at all. 

"They thought it was great. It was a bit of fun at Kells. It wasn’t as formal as usual," said McAleese. 

McAleese tested the water Sunday afternoon and said it was 90 percent better. He hopes before the night ends the water quality and color will be back to normal. 

As of 6 p.m., the Hawthorne Bridge was back open in both directions, according to the Portland Water Bureau. 

Southwest Main and Salmon streets have also reopened. 

Crews worked through the night to repair the water line. Around 5:30 a.m. Monday the Portland Water Bureau said Southwest Madison was clear from water main break repairs and the eastbound approach to the Hawthorne Bridge was open. 

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