Broken water main clogging traffic downtown on Burnside

Broken water main clogging traffic downtown on Burnside »Play Video
(Photo by Portland Water Bureau)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Streets are a mess in downtown Portland after a water main broke overnight at S.W. 4th Ave. and W. Burnside.

Part of Burnside is shut down from S.W. 3rd to S.W. 5th Ave., and the city said it will remain that way for most of Tuesday.

Ty Kovatch with the Portland Water Bureau said one westbound lane of Burnside is open for traffic, but the eastbound lanes will be closed for most of the day. Eastbound traffic has being rerouted to a detour at S.W. 5th and S.W. 3rd.

Power was shut off at the nearby Embassy Suites hotel after the main broke, according to the water bureau. The building is running on a backup generator.

Kovatch said the pipe is buried about nine feet underground, requiring a major undertaking to repair it. He said crews expect the job to be done by the end of the day.

"In a system with 2,500 miles of pipe you have a lot of water being carried a lot of places," Kovatch said. "And 200 times a year we get a main break at various locations, and today we have one at 4th and Burnside, which is always a challenge."

The 100-year-old pipe is 24 inches in diameter, one of the largest in the city. It gushed water for about a half hour.

Some water got into the Embassy Suites hotel and it suffered minor power outages. Management said no guests were affected.

Water also got into a nightclub nearby.