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A setback to MAX construction near Division

POWELL SINKHOLE


by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Portland Water Bureau crews get ready to ladder down into the street, to replace the section of ruptured water pipe.At about 8:30 am on Wednesday, August 14th, the newly-laid asphalt pavement in the intersection of S.E. 8th Avenue at S.E. Division Place began to cave in, a sinkhole opened and water started gushing from the hole.

“A 90-year-old cast iron pipe ruptured,” Portland Water Bureau (PWB) spokesperson Lindsay Wochnick told THE BEE. “The water, flowing from a six-foot long rupture along the pipe, had nowhere to go but up. It eroded the soil above it, causing the sinkhole.”

The water was quickly shut off to the area, and excavation got underway to reach and repair the broken main. Brief water difficulties were reported as far south as Sellwood.

“Service was shut down for four commercial customers through the night,” Wochnick said.

The break in the water main was due to age, Wochnick added, not due to MAX light rail construction. But the light rail work at the site was expected to take a week longer than planned, due to the mishap.

The Inner Southeast MAX light rail line is currently expected to open for service on September 12, 2015.