Homes severely flooded after SW Portland water main break

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13 homes affected when main broke around 1 a.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 75-year-old water main broke in Southwest Portland in the early hours of Monday, affecting 13 homes and causing severe flood damage to several of them.

The pipe broke around 1 a.m. on SW Fairmount Boulevard. Water crews arrived by 1:25 a.m. and shut down the water main.

The Portland Water Bureau said it “heard from a few of those homeowners that their homes were flooded.”

One of the affected homeowners, James Olsen, told KOIN 6 News their barking dogs woke them up. He said he ran outside to see what was going on — and spotted a waterfall pushing through his backyard, smashing a window and flooding his home.

A broken water main flooded James Olsen’s house on SW Fairmount in Portland, November 6, 2021 (KOIN)

Olsen said he got back inside but the wall of water kept flowing for hours. His home filled with water, mud and debris.

The pipe was repaired by 10 a.m. At that time, crews were still patching the street and were expected to be done by early afternoon.

But the affected homes were still without water at that time.

PWB officials said the 75-year-old pipe was expected to last for about 45 more years. It was not due for an inspection or replacement.

Jaymee Cuti with PWB told KOIN 6 News the city’s Risk Office will work with insurance companies to determine “the next best steps for homeowners.”

But Olsen said it will take months and hundreds of thousands of dollars for repairs — and insurance won’t cover damage from outside water.

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