For three-quarters of the year Sellwood Riverfront Park is a haven for dog lovers living south of downtown Portland. It has open, grassy fields for the dogs to run, nature trails, and more; during the summer months, however, the park's shoreline on the Willamette River draws an additional crowd... swimmers, tub floaters, and beer-koozie-holders.
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.
Want to drink alcohol on the beach? No problem, but be responsible. The City of Portland issues park and picnic area permits year round, so all you'll need to worry about is packing your cooler, towels, and giving a few of your best friends a call.
Note: Current becomes stronger and wakes from passing boats become larger the farther you swim into the Willamette River. Enjoy and swim safely.