Metro has taken 8 water fountains and three sink faucets out of service at its theaters after testing found elevated lead levels. Four fountains are closed at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and seven are closed at the Keller Auditorium. Eleven sinks at the Schnitzer that tested for elevated lead will be signed to warn people not to consume water from those sources. An additional 15 sinks will be signed at the Keller.
“Our first priority is to make sure we have safe drinking water available for the public during our shows. We will make that happen,” said Robyn Williams, director of Portland’s 5 Centers for the Arts. “Our teams already are working on what it will take to make permanent repairs,” she said.
Until 1985, there was no regulation of lead plumbing fixtures. Lead is a component of brass, so it is in all sorts of things like water fountains, sinks and home faucets. In the 1970s and 1980s, lead also was used to solder copper pipes together. When you run water through a pipe connected with lead-containing solder, it can dissolve the lead.
As the 5th largest performing arts center in the U.S., the Portland'5 Centers for the Arts are national leaders in venue management. The five venues, owned by the City of Portland and managed by Metro and the Metropolitan Exposition and Recreation Commission, draw more than one million patrons to downtown Portland every year.
Portland'5 Centers for the Arts are the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, Winningstad Theatre, and Brunish Theatre.
Metro is testing all of its facilities for lead. The samples from Portland’5 are the first to show elevated levels of lead in drinking water.