POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Amanda Fritz What Happened?
Water Bureau Fulton/Willamette Park Pump Station

The Water Bureau needs to replace the Fulton Pump Station, and decided to build a new one in Willamette Park.  See here on the Water Bureau site for background and summary information.


From Water Bureau Director David Shaff:


The Fulton Pump Station is one of two pumping stations that supply drinking water to the bureau’s Burlingame Service Area. This service area includes the majority of Southwest Portland, and some of our wholesale customers. The original Fulton pump station was built in 1912 as a one room pump house. It is located on SW Nevada, between SW Macadam and SW Virginia. After 97 years of service, a new replacement pump station needs to be built to ensure our ability to satisfy future service requirements and fire flows.


The building has been expanded four separate times (1918, 1927, 1941, and 1960) each time adding another pump and increasing its capacity. In 1960, two pumps were added. It is currently at its maximum capacity of 12 million gallons per day (MGD). Our assessment is that future needs require a pump station with a maximum capacity of 18 MGD. The pump station property has been expanded to its maximum footprint and is currently surrounded by mixed residential and commercial properties.


Fulton pumps water to the Burlingame tank complex. Water is distributed from Burlingame to the majority of Southwest Portland either by direct supply, or by feeding additional storage tanks. Neighborhoods serviced include: Arnold Creek, Ashcreek, Bridlemile, Collinsview, Crestwood, Far Southwest, Garden Home/Raleigh Hills, Hayhurst, Hillsdale, Maplewood, Markham, Marshall Park, Multnomah, South Burlingame, and West Portland Park. Wholesale Customers include: TVWD, Valley View WD, Lake Grove WD, City of Tigard and the Lake Oswego In addition, the following storage tanks are fed in succession by Fulton Pump Station via Burlingame tanks (1.5mg): Marigold (1mg), Nevada (.67mg), Texas (.67mg), Vermont Hills (4 tanks@5mg), Westwood (1mg), Buddington (.25mg), Stephenson (2 tanks @1.1mg), and Arnold (3 tanks@1.5mg) There are over 15,800 water service connections in the City of Portland that are supplied by the pump station.


As you can tell from my description, this is a critical facility.


Deficiencies identified in the Fulton Pump Station Basis of Design Report include reliability concerns, deficiency in fire flow capacity and long-term service capacity. Examination and analysis of the existing station in 2007 and 2008, reveals that the option of reconstruction of a new station at the existing location, is not practical, is too expensive, will take too long and has hidden costs, and presents an inherent risk to the City.


The original plan for replacing the pump station was to build a new facility on the existing site. Construction would take place in several phases which would allow a portion of the existing station to remain in operation during construction, with limited duration shutdowns. However, we discovered that this plan would not be feasible due to shutdown limitations and the physical constraints of the site. A seasonal restriction (April 1st to September 30th) is such that the water service to Southwest Portland, can not be guaranteed during peak summer demands, or fire flows; without Fulton being fully operational. During peak season demands, only one pump can be taken off line for repairs. Even the off peak seasonal period would have restrictions that would limit station shut down for one week, followed by two weeks of full operation. The costs incurred by a contractor working on a segment of the station at one time, then abandoning all work, would be uneconomical; and still would present an unacceptable risk to the Water Bureau if the contractor's actions should damage the pump station during the course of the work. Finally, a suitable area for construction staging and equipment and material storage could not be identified for rebuilding the existing station at the existing site. Not only would this increase direct costs but it would create a social cost impact to the immediate neighborhood and commuters on SW Macadam.


Acknowledging the limitations of the existing site, the Water Bureau then began to examine the feasibility of an alternative approach or site.


During our planning analysis, Water Bureau staff theorized that a temporary pump station could be constructed at the confluence of SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Capitol Hwy and Bertha Blvd, allowing water to be pumped from the Washington County Supply Line into the Burlingame Service Area. The bureau then set out to prove whether such a temporary pump station could satisfy demand through a series of tests. Computer hydraulic simulations and real world pumping simulations revealed that with Fulton Pump Station off-line, peak daily flows and fire flows could not be satisfied. This represents a risk that is unacceptable to the Water Bureau. The temporary pump station would only be able to produce 10 of the required 12 MGD. This means the Fulton Pump Station could only be out of service during the 6-8 month non-peak season. The cost to install temporary pumping at 10 MGD would be a significant portion of the total pump station replacement budget, and the temporary pump units would have little value to the Bureau once the Fulton project is complete. The second concern was that it did not appear feasible to limit the shutdown at Fulton to 6-8 months. A longer shutdown would be necessary to get pumping capacity back in service.


The preferred option is to build a new permanent pump station facility at an alternate location. The advantages to this option are that the existing pump station can remain in service to supply all demands during construction, and that the cost for acquiring the proposed new pump station site is approximately equal to or less than the estimated cost of installing temporary pump capacity.


From a preliminary analysis, three alternatives were investigated. Any alternate pump station location would be required to be sited along Nevada so as to connect to the 60-inch diameter Washington County Supply Line (WCSL). Extension of the WCSL even for a block, north or south, would be cost prohibitive. With that in mind, the Water Bureau searched for suitable properties on the 500 block of SW Nevada. Surrounding properties are not suitable for expansion for several reasons. When Fulton was first constructed, it was surrounded by farms and open fields. Presently, the neighborhood is in-filled, including a large condominium complex directly across the street. The dense residential development would require acquisition of multiple lots. Alternatives for a replacement pump station location are constrained to parcels large enough to accommodate a 6000 ft2 pump station and associated piping and working room, as well as proximity to the WCSL.


This strategy would have significant impacts on the immediate homes and businesses for the estimated construction duration of more than two years. The demolition and construction on this location would require full and partial closures of SW Nevada, between Macadam and Virginia.


Additionally, an off site construction staging location in the vicinity would be required. This strategy will be disruptive to traffic on Macadam due to construction vehicles traveling as much as a mile from the staging area to the construction site.

There is only one suitable lot on the south side of 500 block of Nevada, which has three homes. The owner had no interest in selling the property. On the north side of the street, the lots are narrow lot houses and it is estimated that three or four of these lots would be required to accommodate the new station footprint. The north lots also were not for sale. The remainder of the properties consists of commercial tax lots.


East of Macadam, near Nevada, there is a parking lot owned by Oregon Public Broadcasting, which also includes a satellite dish farm. You can see it just below the orange circle on the map. The property, though small for the pump station requirements, would have been conceptually plausible to construct a pump station at the site, if several non-conforming situations such as building height, and setbacks were allowed. Inquiries to OPB, however, revealed that the property is not for sale.

To obtain any of these properties, we believe we would have to use the City’s condemnation authority. The Water Bureau does not advocate property condemnation, not only because of the negative impact to the neighborhood, but also because we estimate that condemnation of tax lots with homes on them would incur a penalty of at least three times the tax valuation, making the acquisition cost prohibitive.

Finally, in the course of our research, we identified a vacated right of way inside Willamette Park, just east of Macadam, in line with Nevada. Discussions with Parks and Recreation indicated that this location was a possibility for a new pump station. Siting the water facility inside of the vacated ROW would place it in a location that intersects the Washington County Supply Line. This location has a number of benefits to the Water Bureau, the Parks Bureau and to the public. These benefits include a much more efficient design, and a shorter, less difficult construction process that would allow the bureau to keep the existing station in full operation. Staging and storage area would not be an issue. The park's playing fields, tennis courts, boat launch, picnic sites and parking lots would remain open during the construction.


The Water Bureau proposes to mitigate the loss of park space (60x100 foot, or 0.138 acre) by providing compensation that will fund park improvements and amenities as determined between Parks and the community. The public and Parks Bureau would also be consulted on the exterior aesthetic design of the facility and any park-related functions added to the facility, such as restrooms.


After consultation with the Parks Bureau, both bureaus proceeded with a joint public involvement session, to gauge the public's amenability to placing the pump station within the vacated ROW. The three options investigated (demolish and build on site, purchase a new site, relocate into Willamette Park) were outlined and presented to the public in the form of mailings, newspaper articles, an internet survey, and public forums.


Eighteen Southwest Portland neighborhood associations and two business associations were contacted during the public involvement process. We made presentations to 11 of the 17 Neighborhood Associations that had meetings in late January and February of 2009 and spoke with 158 people. Following a public meeting a year ago on February 21 at the Portland French School which I attended along with representatives of the Water and Parks Bureaus, the outcome received from our three-month long public process overwhelmingly favored moving Fulton Pump Station to Willamette Park as long as the Parks Bureau was appropriately compensated and that the compensation be used for improvements in that park. As part of our agreement and as a result of the public input, Water and Parks staff will continue to collaborate with the relevant neighborhood and park user groups to ensure that the pump station exterior meets with community approval.


Water Bureau staff have negotiated with parks staff for the property use, easements, and working room for a replacement pump station in Willamette Park. Negotiations have resulted in compensation amounting to $655,000. The Water Bureau believes that the proposed location represents the least impact to the City, in terms of cost, risk and greatest benefit.


The overall cost of the project is currently estimated at $12.2 million. We expect the design RFP to be out next month. We hope to have design begin in May and be completed by November 2011. Public input and involvement in the design is targeted for September 2010 through March 2011. We expect to advertise a construction contract in April of 2012, begin construction in June of 2012 and complete construction in March 0f 2014.

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