PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s taken years but the Willamette River is now clean for swimming and people are taking advantage of it.
The Human Access Project wants to re-purpose the Kevin Duckworth Memorial Dock off the East Bank Esplanade, halfway between the Burnside and Steel Bridges. Right now it’s used for boats but it could soon be used by swimmers.
“This is an opportunity to utilize an asset that’s been sitting around basically doing nothing for 20 years, and re-imagining for a use that will serve people,” Willie Levenson says.
“The U-shape allows people to swim on the inside being protected from boat traffic. You have these really fun opportunities to have jumping platforms so people can jump in the river.”
The dock is owned by the State Marine Board until 2021, after which the city could take control, but the Human Access Project and the Mayor’s Office hope it can change hands sooner.
State Senator Michael Debrow is all for the dock. “We’ve really cleaned this river up, and now it’s time to really take full advantage of it,” Debrow says.
If negotiations with the Marine Board go well, the dock could be open as early as next summer.