Portland, July 29th. “Get into your river” was the theme of the 2nd annual Big Float . Over 1,400 people hopped into the Willamette River, according to organizer Will Levenson. (Photo credit,  Lisa Loving, News Editor of The Skanner ) The goal of event is to support river preservation and healthy development of the Willamette as a recreational resource, and have a whale of a good time. The Big Float is a benefit for Willamette Riverkeeper.

Open to all ages, the event begins with a parade. Floaters gather near the east entrance to the Hawthorne Bridge, then carry or wear their flotation devices across the bridge, march south along Waterfront Park and finally launch into the river at the beach area beneath the Marquam Bridge.

THE BIG FLOAT is an opportunity for the people of Portland to partake in a public display of affection for the Willamette River. In grand style, the event will begin with a “parade of floaters”.

The Big Float is an opportunity for the people of Portland to partake in a public display of affection for the Willamette.

 

Will Levenson, Portland, organizer of the second annual Big Float on the Willamette River in downtown Portland

Will Levenson was offering “Free Hugs”. He’s the high spirited organizer of The Big Float.

Despite public perception, the Willamette River is approved for swimming, except in the now rare instances when Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) conditions are present. According to DEQ, with the Big Pipe project now complete, it’s expected that a CSO will occur only once every two summers.

This year featured a paddlers parade - kayakers, canoeists, dragon boaters, and crew teams.

This year featured a paddlers parade, kayakers, canoeists, dragon boaters, and crew teams.

 

A few four-legged friends made the Willamette River Crossing

A few four-legged friends made the Willamette River Crossing.

 

    Floaters headed east across the river and proceed downstream to the landing area, where swimming was allowed. All floaters must have a flotation device and wear a life vest.

Floaters said the water was pretty warm. They headed east across the river and proceeded downstream to the landing area, where swimming was allowed.

 

Live music will be featured on water as well as on land.

Live music was featured on water as well as on land for an after-party.

A Great Crossing celebration featured live music by local bands, plus food carts, exhibits and sponsor booths and a children’s area sponsored by the Grand Ronde Tribes with native American crafts.

Here’s a The Big Float video:

 

From Willamette Riverkeeper:

Willamette Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization whose sole mission is to protect and restore the Willamette River. We believe that a river with good water quality and abundant natural habitat is a basic public right. The Willamette River belongs to all of us and should be protected as such.

We invite you to take a look around our website and get to know more about the Willamette River and our Programs. Join us for a Saturday paddle trip, a volunteer training, or sign up for our action alert list and stay up to date on issues affecting our river.

Thank you to Lisa Loving, News Editor of The Skanner .

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