North College Street closed Tuesday afternoon

A water main burst on North College Street Tuesday afternoon, causing street flooding and closure of a long stretch of the thoroughfare.

Newberg Public Affairs Officer Brittney Jeffries said contractors were working in the vicinity of the water line when the valve detached.

“It’s not supposed to do that,” Jeffries said, adding that city staff have no idea why the valve detached, releasing an estimated 800,000 gallons of water onto the street. “Sometimes things just happen like that. A lot of those pipes had been in the ground a long times. Sometimes there’s wear and tear, but we have no idea.”by: AL HERRIGES - Fire, police and ODOT crews survey a water main break on North College Street on Tuesday afternoon

The break resulted in about 14 inches of water on the street and some made its way into nearby yards and a few homes. Residents most effected were on Ella Court, where residents were required to park at Jaquith Park and walk home.

“There has been some damages to homes as far as flooding, but the city has offered those residents a place to stay at the Travelodge for the night just until they were able to get some water (running and access to homes),” she said.

City Attorney Truman Stone said no one took the city’s offer.

“When the break happened the immediate concern was trying to get the water shut off … once that occurred and we saw the fix was relatively easy or doable in a relatively short time then we didn’t see the need to put people up because water would be restored within hours instead of days,” Stone said. “But initially we didn’t know so as a contingency we made some arrangements.”

The valve replacement was delivered around 10:30 p.m. with water flow restored an hour later, although Jeffries said the fix was delayed because initially the wrong valve was delivered.

“So they had to call up and get another valve delivered from Portland last night, that’s what took so long,” Jeffries said. “(We were) going to have water turned on by 10 p.m. It was the 18-inch transmission line, so it’s the main line.”

She added that once the valve was in place it took about 20 minutes to re-pressurize the water main. Most of the water was pumped out of the street by crews, as well as some remaining debris, which she said was completed Wednesday morning by public works maintenance staff.

“Our police department said (although) surprising, there wasn’t a lot of people who were upset (by the interruption of service),” she said. “In fact, a lot of residents were making the best of it kayaking and floating in tubes.”

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