Reopened in 2014 after a complete overhaul and reconstruction, Portland's Fire and Rescue Station 21 is the city's primary access point for patrolling the Willamette River. The small floating dock has also become one of the best centrally located places to lounge in the mid-day summer sun and cool off with a soak in the Willamette. Since lounging space is relatively limited, try the Audrey McCall Floating Dock just on the south side of the Hawthorne Bridge if the dock fills up.
Not: Jumping and diving off of the bridge that connects the dock to the East Bank Esplanade is prohibited.
For decades Portland natives avoided swimming in the Willamette River. Jokes were made about what exactly would happen to you if you did, but thanks to additional decades of cleanup work, a $1.4-billion public works project to mitigate sewer overflow, and stormwater retention projects, the river is finally very safe for swimming. According to OPB, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services tests for bacteria weekly at five different locations during the summer months to assure safety.
Note: Current becomes stronger and wakes from passing boats become larger the farther you swim into the Willamette River. Enjoy and swim safely.