PP&R summer registration beginning; Portlanders needed to help fill staff openings

News Article
Some programs are being modified to respond to a lack of capacity. Apply and help PP&R offer a full array of programs this summer!

(Portland, OR) –

As Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) prepares for summer 2022 program registration, the Bureau and Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio issued a call to Portlanders: help us offer a full array of programs this season!

A PP&R swim instructor gives a high-five to a student.
A PP&R swim instructor gives a high-five to a student!

Portland’s Parks Bureau continues to experience the same staffing challenges as nearly all parks and recreation agencies across the country.  Specifically, the PP&R aquatics program is affected by ongoing recruitment struggles.

PP&R is not alone. A nationwide survey conducted by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) showed that 88% of park and recreation agencies indicate they are not fully staffed for lifeguards this summer season. This summer, cities such as Phoenix and Austin have said they will only open half of their public pools due to lifeguard shortages, and leading park systems from Chicago to the Washington DC area are cutting back services. 

Given this, Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio encourages Portlanders to consider joining PP&R as a lifeguard, swim instructor, or other available capacities.

“We are ready and eager to offer Portlanders a full array of summer activities, from swim lessons to Free Summer Lunch and Play – but we need more staff,” said Commissioner Rubio. “Whether you’re a teenager looking for your first job or an adult who loves building community and working with kids, we’ve got employment opportunities for you.”

As a result of Portland’s current aquatics staff shortage, when registration opens on Monday, swim lessons will only be available at outdoor pools. This aligns with past and expected community demand, and it allows the Bureau to maximize current capacity. (PP&R’s outdoor pools provide the largest capacity for swim lessons.) Both indoor and outdoor pools will be open for exercise and lap swim. Family and open swim sessions are also taking place only at outdoor pools. 

But Commissioner Rubio stressed that PP&R can and will open more lessons, and lessons at Portland’s indoor pools, if it is able to hire and train more aquatics staff.

“We greatly appreciate Portlanders’ patience as the Parks Bureau continues to recruit, hire, and train the valuable teammates who make PP&R’s services possible,” Commissioner Rubio said. “If you or someone you know is interested in helping kids learn to swim, while earning good wages with a flexible schedule, please go to the PP&R website to learn about and apply for available positions. If we can recruit, hire, and train more lifeguards soon, then PP&R can hopefully expand swim lesson opportunities throughout the summer.”


To fill staffing gaps to enhance the PP&R’s aquatic programs, the Bureau has been hosting job fairs, reaching out to the community through the media, social media, and direct outreach since June 2021. 

PP&R program managers and other appropriately trained staff are taking lifeguard shifts and teaching swim lessons in addition to their regular administrative duties. Their extra efforts will ensure that all PP&R pools can open this summer. In addition, swim instructors who typically work at indoor facilities are transitioning to staff PP&R’s outdoor pools this summer to increase swim lessons for the Portland community.

PP&R offers fun, fulfilling jobs in a welcoming and inclusive work environment; anyone age 16 and up is encouraged to apply. Portland Parks & Recreation has seasonal jobs, part-time work, and full-time careers. 

Training is free, including for lifeguards and swim instructors, and many part-time staff have gone on to established, long-term careers with the City.

Please consider joining PP&R as a new employee and help provide important services to the community, like life-saving swim lessons. 


PP&R’s summer registration opens Monday, May 23, 2022. While some registrations can be done in-person or by phone, they make take longer. The fastest option is to sign up online at portland.gov/parks/register. 

Portland Parks & Recreation encourages online registration in place of calling or signing up in person. However, the Bureau recognizes that this is not an ideal option for everyone and is reassigning personnel to assist with phone and in-person summer registration efforts. 

To accommodate more people during the staffing and capacity challenges facing Portland Parks & Recreation, PP&R is opening summer registration for four weeks at a time per the below schedule.

PP&R notes that community members should expect customer service delays related to capacity and appreciates Portlanders’ patience.

Early Registration OpensFor Activity Dates
Friday, June 17, 2022, at 12:30pmJuly 25 – September 4, 2022
Monday, August 1, 2022, at 12:30pm September 5 – October 2, 2022