Portland Parks & Recreation facing staffing issues, continues to recruit for full-time, part-time, and seasonal work

News Article
Portland's parks bureau opens recruitment for full-time and part-time jobs across the PP&R system with immediate openings, as well as many positions available for summer 2023.

(Portland, OR) –

Beginning February 20, 2023, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will open recruitment for full-time and part-time jobs across the PP&R system with immediate openings, as well as many positions available for summer 2023.

 A four-square shaped collage of of PP&R workers employed in various positions facing the camera and smiling.
Portland Parks & Recreation is hiring for jobs in many different areas. The bureau features an inclusive, welcoming environment, strong support for workers, and enthusiastic teammates.

Positions include: staffing indoor and outdoor City pools as a lifeguard, swim instructor, and/or water fitness leader, summer camp jobs, tennis instructors, volleyball officials, park maintenance work, the Summer Free For All cultural festivals and events, Free Lunch + Play staff positions, opportunities with PP&R’s Environmental Education, Community Gardens, and Urban Forestry teams, among others.

The bureau has more than 800 summer seasonal positions available and is seeking a diverse group of candidates who are reflective of the communities the City serves, including individuals who may speak languages other than English. For more info or to apply, visit Employment Opportunities. 

PP&R, like recreation organizations across the country, is experiencing staffing shortages at all levels, including customer service and registration support. The bureau recognizes the desire for its programs and classes, especially swim lessons, exceeds current capacity. PP&R has experienced severe hiring challenges since COVID-19, but there is reason for hope on that front.

Together with union representatives, PP&R demonstrated to City Council the need for higher wages for represented PP&R lifeguards, swim instructors, counselors, attendants, seasonal maintenance workers, and customer service staff. City Council quickly approved a wage increase, bringing these wages to $18-21 per hour. PP&R believes this will make a significant difference in recruitment, retention, and the ability to increase service levels. The Recreation Division has also increased wages for Inclusion Assistants to $20-23 per hour to provide accommodation support for program participants.

In addition to increased wages, PP&R offers the required lifeguard training free of charge and just hired a new position specifically to support the staffing of lifeguards and swim instructors. PP&R continues to invest significant capacity in promoting job opportunities. Examples of these efforts include advertising on TriMet buses, reaching out to community nonprofits and schools, and leading and participating in job fairs such as the NW Youth Careers Expo.

While many positions remain unfilled, PP&R celebrated a small victory after 20 swim instructors were recently hired as a result of recent efforts. Every swim instructor hired increases capacity and allows more Portlanders to safely enjoy the water. Safety is the top priority for PP&R, which is only able to provide additional classes as more people apply and are hired and trained.

People interested in joining the PP&R team can learn more and apply at Employment Opportunities.  Summer employment traditionally attracts many college and high-school-aged staff, but these positions offer tremendous opportunities for people of all ages who want a flexible schedule, a fun, inclusive work environment, and to be involved in their community.