Help Clackamas County name its tunnel boring machine

The mole-like machine will clear the way for an outfall pipeline transporting treated water to the Willamette River.

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Stand aside, shovel, and leave the digging to the tunnel boring machine.

Photo via Clackamas County

Many gardeners in the Portland area likely have their own names for the subterranean mammals that tunnel through their yard, leaving behind unsightly mounds of soil — maybe “tiny terrors” or something a bit more colorful. “Caddyshack”-inspired vendettas aside, a new mole (of sorts) is in town and it needs an official name.

In the next seven months, Clackamas Water Environment Services will create a 9-ft-wide tunnel stretching half a mile in length to accommodate a new outfall pipeline that will transport treated water from the Tri-City Water Resource Recovery Facility to the Willamette River, just north of the I-205 Abernethy Bridge. A tunnel boring machine, or TBM, will do the literal dirty work and clear the way for the pipeline.

Clackamas County is continuing an international tradition of naming TBMs and has asked community members to help with the task. Anyone can submit a name through Thursday, Feb. 29; the winning name will be placed on the machine and appear in future stories about the project.

If you need a little inspiration, here are some names other cities have chosen in the past:

  • “Shai-Hulud” — San Jose BART’s TBM, named after the giant worms in the “Dune” book series and films
  • “MudHoney — Seattle’s Ship Canal Water Quality Project’s TBM, named after a Seattle grunge music band
  • “Cruella de Drill” — Glasgow’s Resilience Project’s TBM, named in honor of the “101 Dalmatians” movie villain
  • “Diggy Scardust” — Toronto’s Scarborough Subway Extension’s TBM, named after David Bowie’s stage persona

Share your family-friendly name ideas with us here.