Opened in 2017 with the vigorous support of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (a former triathlete and swimming fanatic), Poet's Beach is the city's newest option for Willamette River swimming and summer relaxation.
Located under the Marquam Bridge (I-5), the area was previously only an engineered rocky shoreline with no draw, but with the deposit of a few truckloads of sand, some landscaping improvements, and oversight by Portland Department of Parks and Recreation, the shoreline is now an ideal location to relax, swim, or launch a boat on a hot summer day.
For kid-friendly safety, the swimming area is roped off and is staffed with lifeguards seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer months.
Note: Dogs and alcohol are prohibited at Poet's Beach.
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.