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Join the First Splash at Poet’s Beach on July 13; see the Mayor swim!

News Article
Portland's first downtown river swimming beach opens
In this article


(Portland, OR) –

Everyone is invited to the Big Splash as the City’s new Poet’s Beach celebrates its opening on Thursday, July 13, 2017, at 10:10am. Mayor Ted Wheeler and friends with the Human Access Project will lead the charge into the Willamette River to swim (between City Council sessions, hence the odd unusual time). All are welcome to join the Mayor in the Big Splash. Poet’s Beach is located in South Waterfront Park, on the west side of the Willamette River. The beach, a City of Portland pilot project, will be open through September 4, 2017.

Portland Parks & Recreation thanks all PP&R staff and partners including the Bureau of Environmental Services, American Medical Response (AMR), and the Human Access Project for their assistance in working to open the new downtown river beach.

What: Poet’s Beach First Splash
When: Thursday, July 13, 2017, 10:10am
Where: Poet’s Beach, South Waterfront Park; nearest road intersection is SW Moody Avenue and River Parkway.

The Mayor leads the charge into the Willamette for the First Splash; American Medical Response river lifeguards at work, life jackets (infant – adult sizes) which will be available to beach visitors, beach signs crafted and installed by the Human Access Project (HAP), the downtown skyline, boats and more. Interviews available with Mayor Wheeler, Portland Parks & Recreation, Human Access Project Ringleader Willie Levenson, AMR, and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES).

Walk, roll, or bicycle along the South Waterfront Park Trail (you can get to it from Salmon Street).

  • Use public transit
    • Nearest Portland Streetcar stop is at SW River Parkway and Moody Avenue
    • Nearest TriMet bus stops are lines 35 and 36
  • Arriving by car is also an option 
    • Nearest road intersection is SW River Parkway and Moody Avenue
    • Paid vehicle parking is available in the area

Poet’s Beach Program Goals

  1. Safety is the top priority of the Poet’s Beach pilot project.
  2. The swim area serves a wide demographic, families, and all levels of swim proficiency, not just experienced swimmers.
  3. Connects people to the river, educating them on the river environment, and the importance of swim safety.
  4. All participants behave responsibly, and are respectful of the neighboring residents and visitors to the area.
  5. The project should not create overly-burdensome costs to the City for swim safety, security, and maintenance.
  6. The project should strengthen and expand partnerships.

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