Most City offices closed Wednesday, June 19, to observe Juneteenth

The City of Portland recognizes Juneteenth as a formal day of remembrance to honor Black American history and the end of slavery in the United States. Learn about Juneteenth.

Portland Parks & Recreation outdoor pools to open amid aquatics staff shortage

News Article
The seven outdoor pools open June 22, 2022, for summer; joining four indoor, year-round facilities. PP&R seeks lifeguards and swim instructors!

(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s seven outdoor pools will open on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in providing recreational opportunities for the Rose City. The seven pools are in addition to PP&R’s four year-round indoor pools. Portland’s public pools feature lap swim and water fitness, open play and family swims, and limited swim lessons.

A lifeguard in the foreground with swimmers at play at a PP&R pool on a recent summer day.
A lifeguard on duty with swimmers at play at a PP&R pool on a recent summer day.

PP&R continues to experience staffing challenges like nearly all parks and recreation agencies across the country.  Specifically, the PP&R aquatics program is affected by ongoing recruitment struggles as the number of applicants continue to not meet our expected targets.

The challenge is not unique to Portland. 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. 

As a result of Portland’s current aquatics staff shortage (there are also shortages in departments bureauwide), swim lessons will only be available at outdoor pools this summer. 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. Despite these challenges, both indoor and outdoor pools will be open for exercise and lap swim at regular times. Family and open swim sessions are also taking place only at outdoor pools, except for limited indoor play swims at Matt Dishman Community Center. 

Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen 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.”

You can find out more information at Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics information page.


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.

Apply here


The next summer registration session opens Monday, June 27, 2022. While some registrations can be done in-person or by phone, the fastest option is to sign up online.  If you are not able to sign up for your preferred offering, we strongly encourage you to get on the wait list.

PP&R is experiencing staffing shortages at all levels, including customer service and registration support – vacancies and illness. As such, the bureau is encouraging online registration in place of calling or signing up in person. The bureau recognizes that this is not an ideal option for everyone and is reassigning some 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, we are opening summer registration for four weeks at a time per the below schedule. 

General Registration: Register online, over the phone through the PP&R Customer Service Center (503-823-2525), or by calling or visiting a recreation or arts center.  

General Registration Opening DayActivity Dates
Monday, June 27 at 12:30pmJuly 25 – September 4
Monday, August 8 at 12:30pmSeptember 5 – October 2

Early Registration: As part of our Parks Local Option Levy commitment, we are working to improve access for underserved communities, which include but are not limited to people of color, seniors, teens, households experiencing poverty, immigrants and refugees, and people living with disabilities. PP&R provides information to local community organizations who share early registration opportunities with their community members. 

Interested organizations can email to register as partners or to learn more.

Early Registration is available one week prior to general registration at 12:30 pm. Partner organizations and their community members can inquire about early registration through the Customer Service Center at (503) 823-2525 or by calling or visiting a PP&R community or arts center.