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PDX Update

News of Portland in brief.

POLICE

Cops seek witnesses

Portland police are asking anyone who witnessed a Sunday afternoon arrest near Northwest 13th Avenue and Everett Street to contact the bureau.

James Chasse, 42, died after struggling with the officers who arrested him. The bureau has opened a criminal investigation into the incident. The Multnomah County medical examiner is waiting until toxicology test results are known before releasing the cause of the death.

Anyone who saw the arrest is asked to call Detectives Lynn Courtney, 503-823-0451, or Jon Rhodes, 503-823-0459. The Multnomah County district attorney routinely presents all officer-involved deaths to grand juries to determine if any laws were broken.

CITY

Big Pipe continues push

The Big Pipe project is making steady progress reducing sewage overflows into the Willamette River when it rains, according to city environmental officials.

The $1.4 billion project is laying two large pipes along both sides of the Willamette River to divert contaminated storm water to the city's North Portland treatment plant. The project already has reduced the amount of tainted water entering the river from 6 billion to 2.7 billion gallons a year, according to Linc Mann, spokesman for the Bureau of Environmental Services.

The recently completed west-side pipe is expected to cut the overflows by another 700,000 gallons a year when testing is completed and the pipe becomes fully functional later this year.

The final 2 billion gallons a year will not be removed until the east-side pipe is completed in 2011, however. Even then, contaminated water may be discharged into the river during the heaviest rainfalls in the winter, when relatively few people use the river.

The project is primarily being funded by city-issued bonds financed by fees paid by residents and businesses that use the sewer system. The fees have helped make Portland's combined water and sewer bills among the highest in the country.

TRAFFIC

Bridge closure planned

The Burnside Bridge will be closed to road traffic from 8 tonight until as late as 5 a.m. Monday.

The bridge is being repaired by Multnomah County, and the closure will allow a contractor to complete work that requires the lift span to be in the open position.

Flaggers and posted signs will direct bridge users to other routes when the bridge is closed. TriMet bus routes 12, 19 and 20 will use the Morrison Bridge during the closure.

- Tribune staff