No city help after water main break ‘blows my mind’

Civic Affairs

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ryan Humphrey’s basement was flooded when a huge water main burst in his Northeast Portland neighborhood in March. There was 2 feet of water in his basement, his TV room was gutted, a furnace, children’s toys, family heirlooms and other valuables destroyed.

“My garage door, the bottom panel buckled and water started to rush in,” he said. There’s also concerns about mold and structural damage estimated at $70,000.

He and about 10 other homeowners and business like The Hilt filed a claim and said the city of Portland was at fault due to the construction design and maintenance of the water system, as well as the response time to manage and contain the water.

But the city denied his claim and maintains the pipe near NE 23rd and Skidmore broke spontaneously at no fault to the city.

Ryan Humphrey's home suffered $70,000 damage after a water main broke in Northeast Portland. The city denied his claim for relief, May 9, 2019 (KOIN)

“It blows my mind they are sitting there saying it’s a catastrophic failure and all hands are on deck, and here we are a month-and-a-half later. You can go look at my basement. It’s a train wreck,” Humphrey told KOIN 6 News. “It’s like the city came, city leadership and then they left and homeowners pick up the pieces.”

The city said the pipe segment that broke had no prior documented maintenance issues and the remainder of the main was found to be in good condition, not caused by negligence of employees.

“It took them 4 to 5 hours to even get the water to recede and they find it all very reasonable,” said Humphrey. “It blows my mind.”

He said he plans to appeal the city’s decision.

“I’m facing bills, I’m trying to get my family back into a normal situation,” he said.  “I’m looking for some help.” 

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