Pacific Power grid project to tunnel under Willamette River to enable cleanup of Portland Harbor section

April 13, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. — In order to maintain reliable service to thousands of customers, Pacific Power will build a new 2-mile electric distribution network that includes a 3,000-foot-long underground crossing of the Willamette River in Portland.

This new line, now in the permitting process, will replace the existing line which dates to the 1960s and rests on the riverbed near the Fremont Bridge.  Removing the old line in the River Mile 11E Project Area is necessary for the long-planned cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. The new line, which will be safely encased in a tunnel beneath the riverbed, will run just north of the Broadway Bridge. Find out more about the Portland Harbor cleanup.

“This is a key infrastructure project for our Portland customers and community,” said Bob Gravely, regional business manager for Pacific Power in Portland. “Moving the line is a major milestone in planning for the cleanup at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site River Mile 11E Project Area.”

Pacific Power is now at work obtaining all the necessary permits, which will take most of 2021. A request for proposals for detailed design and construction has been issued for some portions of the project.

“We are committed to keeping the community informed and minimizing any inconvenience or disruption,” continued Gravely. “A project of this size will inevitably impact traffic flows and some public activities for a period in some of the work areas. We will share progress with regular updates throughout the project.”

A dedicated website will keep residents and customers apprised. Property owners along the route will receive individual notifications. In addition, there will be open houses and other informative events in a form that is consistent with COVID-19 guidelines. The goal is to keep the public informed, advance the project with as little disruption as possible and proceed in a timely and safe way.

For more information on the project, go to