Portland crews fixing water main bust gas line

Credit: KGW

Jeff Wohler had to leave his Northeast Portland home after city crews struck a natural gas line while repairing a broken water main.


by KGW Staff

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Posted on December 13, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 10:19 AM

PORTLAND -- City of Portland crews working on a broken water main in Northeast Portland ended up striking and breaking a natural gas line.

The water line was reported broken Thursday evening on Northeast Sacramento Street near 76th Avenue and a Water Bureau inspector arrived about 9 p.m., according to Jeff Wohler, who lives by the break.

Repair crews arrived around midnight with big excavation equipment. Wohler was told there were concerns of a sinkhole being created. Just before 3 a.m., crews realized they had punctured a natural gas line, he said.

That prompted a quick response from both Northwest Natural Gas and the Portland Fire Bureau.

"Gas lines in particular are shallow and tend to be right around where our mains are, " said Water Bureau spokesman Ty Kovatch. "Because we provide service to a house, gas also does the same thing. So we tend to have more conflicts with their infrastructure than others."

Wohler, wife Mary Fletcher Wohler,  their unhappy cat, and a neighbor had to leave their homes after the gas leak. The couple returned after a call from a firefighter, who had written their number on his hand.

"We're pretty lucky really. They're out here fixing it," he told KGW as crews scrambled in the background. "Nothing but compliments to the city, and that's not always said."

Repairs were completed and a temporary pavement patch installed by about 6 a.m.