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Portland Parks & Recreation Outdoor Pools Open for Summer on June 21, 2023

News Article
Play Swims, Free Swim Sessions offered Indoor and Outdoor for First Time Since COVID
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(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s seven popular outdoor pools will be open for the summer starting Wednesday, June 21; running through Sunday, August 27, 2023. PP&R also offers four indoor year-round pools and continues planning around a new North Portland Aquatic Center.

For information on swim schedules, hours, and locations, visit Play Swim Schedule

Two girls hold hands as they leap into a PP&R pool on a recent sunny summer day.
PP&R's outdoor pools open on Wednesday, June 21, for the summer season. They will be open through August 27. The Bureau welcomes more applicants to be full-time or part-time lifeguards and swim instructors! Employment Opportunities.

The Parks Levy makes it possible

Along with other Aquatics programs, the Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy) lets PP&R offer weekly Free Swims with no admission cost at every outdoor PP&R pool. Free Swims are part of the Summer Free For All.  

Other activities at PP&R pools include open play swims, lap swimming, water fitness classes, summer swim team activities, and Junior Lifeguard and Junior Swim Instructor programs.

Check the PP&R Aquatics website for more information.

“The Parks Local Option Levy has allowed PP&R to ramp up staffing to once again offer a variety of recreation programs,” notes Portland Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan. “That includes swim activities at all City pools and the popular Summer Free For All. I’m delighted to see the Levy continue to provide such a wonderful quality of life for Portlanders.”

PP&R is thrilled to be offering more swim lessons than in the past two years; and for summer, lessons will take place at all indoor and outdoor pools - for the first time since the pandemic’s onset. However, demand still outpaces what we’re able to safely offer. We encourage families to join waitlists if swim lessons are full. As we bring on more staff, we will add more spots for people on the waitlists throughout the summer.

Introducing Ida B. Wells-Barnett Pool

This summer will be notable as the first season of use and enjoyment of the newly renamed Ida B. Wells-Barnett Pool, formerly Wilson Pool. The new name, honoring the Black female journalist and civil rights advocate, was a historic first for PP&R — the first facility on Portland’s west side honoring a person of color.

A black and white portrait of Ida B. Wells-Barnett
This summer will be notable as the first season of use and enjoyment of the newly renamed Ida B. Wells-Barnett Pool, formerly Wilson Pool. The new name, honoring the Black female journalist and civil rights advocate, was a historic first for PP&R — the fi

“This summer, we will reintroduce a popular community gathering place in a way that welcomes all Portlanders,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Adena Long. “The new name is a nod to the importance of Ida B. Wells-Barnett's work and legacy, and it honors a trail blazer who, frankly, deserves greater recognition.”

It was very important to committee members that Ida B. Wells-Barnett be honored similarly to other PP&R facilities where the pool, park, and adjacent school all share the same name (such as Grant Pool, Park, and High School and the former Wilson High School and Pool). As a woman of color, the committee reasoned, Ms. Wells-Barnett should be given the same honor as white male leaders.  

A photo of the new, permanent signage reflecting the newly-renamed Ida B. Wells-Barnett Pool.
A photo of the new, permanent signage reflecting the newly-renamed Ida B. Wells-Barnett Pool.

Work with us!

Thanks to funding from the voter-approved Parks Levy, Portland Parks & Recreation continues hiring for great jobs in a variety of areas. Demand remains strong for lifeguards and swim instructors in particular, along with staff in many other areas of PP&R. Enjoy a welcoming, inclusive work environment with supportive, fun teammates, competitive wages, and opportunities for advancement. More info at Employment Opportunities. The Parks Levy allows PP&R to offer the required training for FREE for all prospective lifeguards and swim instructors.

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