It does not take a biowar paranoid bureaucrat to see the disaster waiting for SE Portland. The Mt Tabor reservoirs are not lakes, they are not even in natural basins. The reservoirs are contained by earthen berms built nearly 100 years ago. The lower one is at an elevation of about 300 feet, or about 50 feet above the neighborhood below. The higher one is over 50 feet higher yet.
I am not an engineer, but I know that no man made structure built nearly a century ago was built with the seismic safety standards understood today. If one or both of the west side reservoirs were to breach, a huge wall of water would crash onto SE Portland and not stop until it hit the river, and maybe beyond.
Covering the reservoirs should not be the issue. Removing them should be. The risks of maintaining these large reservoirs of water and destructive energy is too high to warrant their use as nice reflecting pools only seen by the relatively few who walk above them.