Amenities under construction at new Powell Butte underground reservoir

Part 2: Here’s your first look the buildings you’ll see – after the 50 million gallon reservoir has been constructed and covered with dirt and native plants …

The Powell Butte Caretaker’s House (and garage) is now in the framing stage, even while the new reservoir is under construction.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Last week, in Part 1 of this story updating the progress of the “Powell Butte Reservoir Project”, East Portland News showed you the immense scale and complexity of this public works project mounted by the Portland Water Bureau (PWB).

 > To see Part 1, “Inside the Powell Butte Reservoir construction project”, CLICK HERE.

After touring the worksite, and walking through what will be the interior of the new reservoir, PWB Public Information Manager Tim Hall and PWB Senior Engineering Associate and Assistant Construction Manager Rick Lapp took East Portland News on a tour of Powell Butte – showing off the progress of what will, once again, become Powell Butte Nature Park, when the huge underground project is completed.

“When the new reservoir is finished,” Lapp said, “it will be covered over with topsoil that we removed at the start of construction, and stockpiled. Then, it will be covered with native plants. Like Reservoir #1, there won’t be much to see.”

One feature also missing from the park’s property is the Caretaker’s double-wide mobile home.

“Three park structures are required by the public in the Conditional Use Master Plan for Powell Butte Nature Park,” Hall explained. “One is the Caretaker’s House, a single family residence; also the Interpretive Center; and, due to the expanded needs of the park, a new Maintenance Building is also being constructed.”

The artist’s conception shows the Caretaker’s Home, which will have a breathtaking view of Mt. Hood from the porch, when it is completed. PWB Illustration

“Participants on our advisory panel suggested the Caretaker’s House should ‘look historic’ in nature,” Hall explained. “You can see from the illustration that the designers have chosen a prairie-themed house and garage.”

This is the foundation of what will become the new Powell Butte Interpretative Center

… which, when completed, will look like this. PWB Illustration

Next on our journey around the site was a stop at the Powell Butte Interpretative Center building site.

“The Interpretative Center will house large graphic displays that can be secured behind tilt-up security doors when it’s closed,” Hall said. “It will also be the new location of our public restrooms at Powell Butte.”

An inspector talks with contractors at the far end of the Powell Butte Maintenance Facility’s foundation.

Even though the new Powell Butte Maintenance Facility will be mostly hidden from view – below the grade of the hillside – this building will be heavily used by Portland Parks & Recreation workers, by the caretaker, and also by volunteers.

Here’s what the Maintenance Facility will look like, when completed. PWB Illustration

“In this building will also be located facilities for data and other communications, water quality testing, and a water pump station,” Lapp pointed out, as he looked at the foundation and slab floor. “Because the reservoir is below the level of the Interpretive Center and Caretakers House, we need a small pump to supply them with water – and also [to provide water] for firefighting.”

Inside is also a space dedicated to park volunteers, Hall said. “It’s important for them to have their own space, here at the park.”

Under construction are the upper and lower Powell Butte parking lots.

Even the parking lots at Powell Butte are getting a makeover, Hall added.

“The lower parking lot will be for vehicles with horse trailers and busses; the upper lot is for cars. Some of the roadway is currently being used for construction, so this will be finished after the heavy construction has been completed.”

The project is expected to be completed in 2014.

> For more information, see the project’s website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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