THE EAST SIDE BIG PIPE PROJECT
For the past several years Portland's Environmental Services has been involved in the largest and most expensive public works project in the city's history: the Big Pipe. Since 2006 Rosie, the enormous tunnel boring machine, has been drilling a tunnel deep underground along the east bank of the Willamette River. When this project is finished in 2011, the volume of combined sewage and stormwater that now overflows to the river when it rains will be reduced by more than 94%.
In November Locus Focus host Barbara Bernstein was invited along with the rest of the Portland area press to take a trip down the tunnel and see where all that stormwater will start flowing once the project is completed. On this episode of Locus Focus she talks with Dean Marriott, director of Portland Environmental Services and Paul Gribbon, the Willamette River CSO Tunnel Program Chief Engineer, about why this big pipe was necessary to construct. We'll also learn why Portland needs to change the way it deals with stormwater so that the big pipe doesn't become prematurely obsolete.