January 13th, 2010 5:33 pm | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Sports, City Hall

PGE Park Negotiations Hinge In Part On Tanner Creek Sewer

PGE Park Tanner Creek

In what are supposed to be the final days of Portland's financial negotiations with Merritt Paulson on the redesign of PGE Park for Major League Soccer, Tanner Creek Sewer has been one of the sticking points.

Dean Marriott, the director of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services, spoke with WW about the almost century-old sewer line carrying human waste and stormwater underneath the outfield of the publicly owned stadium.

Marriott says if Portlanders looked at PGE Park from above, the sewer line would run right under the centerline fence to third base and then take a right toward Southwest Morrison Street. It's a 72-inch brick sewer that is only seven feet below the surface of the outfield.

The delicate nature of the pipe means construction workers can't drive over it, Marriott says. Also, engineers will have to build posts to support foundational work in a way that doesn't disturb the line. Even then, what gets built would need to be able to withstand the possibility of a sewer collapse. "The very specific list of requirements ... is now in their hands -- or will be this week," Marriott says.

Marriott says he doesn't know the finer points of the city's financial negotiations with Paulson but Marriott's position is that if Paulson's construction company damages the pipe during the renovation, it should also have to repair it.

"Why don't you move the sewer line?" Marriott says people have asked him. The answer?

"It would not be easy," Marriott says. "It would take several years and cost tens of millions of dollars."

He adds: "No one can wait three to five years to build the soccer stadium."
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