Client: Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), City of Portland 

Date: March, 2017 – August, 2017



The City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) is responsible for stormwater management, wastewater collection & treatment, and a variety of other watershed and water quality protection programs.

Foreseeing the pressures of aging infrastructure and growing capacity needs, the bureau director set a goal to double the value of Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) BES completes by the 2020-21 fiscal year. 

For FY 2016-2017, the BES capital budget allocated $109.1 million to maintain, update, and expand its more than 2,300 miles of pipe, ninety-six wastewater pump stations, and two wastewater treatment plants. Doubling annual CIP completion was no trivial matter. 

As part of this effort BES wanted to enhance its CIP process, a complex business operation through which the bureau identifies and delivers its capital improvement projects.


Working in collaboration with a team of city stakeholders and our collogues at Delaris Technical Consulting, members of the Steaming Kettle team:

  • Facilitated fifteen meetings with over ninety BES subject matter experts to draft a first-everd map of the CIP Process as it was currently implemented
  • Using the as-implemented maps as a starting place, facilitated ten meetings with over one hundred and ten BES subject matter experts gathering suggested improvements for the CIP process 
  • Lead the analysis of the improvement data sent, helping the City to gain insight and perspective into how BES’s CIP process should evolve

Key Accomplishments

  • Created the first ever detailed map of the BES capital improvement process
  • Involved over 20% of BES staff
  • Generated over 1,750 process improvement suggestions
  • Process improvement implementation is currently underway