Portland Water Bureau "water house"

Next month, the Portland Water Bureau unveils its prototype for a â€œwater house,” an eco-friendly home more than one year in the making.

Located in the Russell neighborhood in Northeast Portland, the new home “showcases water-efficient practices through innovative local green building partnerships,” according to a press release from the Water Bureau that announces a Jan. 19 open house at the new abode.

The project sits on property the Water Bureau considers surplus, one of about 40 such parcels. The idea behind the home-building project was two-fold: to dispose of the property and to highlight the products of local companies doing green work. The Water Bureau will sell the new house in 2012 in an effort to recover the cost of building the home, about $310,000.

Meantime, a caretaker will live in the home for about a year, says David Shaff, the Water Bureau’s director.

“My goal is not to pay anyone [for that],” Shaff says. “A brand new house in a nice neighborhood is a good incentive.”