Portland, July 28, 2013. “Come on in, the water’s fine!” That’s the slogan The Big Float organizers want you to remember after seeing over 2,000 water-lovers  take to the Willamette River.  The event benefits the conservation organization, the Human Access Project.
The event included an inner-tube parade and bands on a barge. The Big Float is open to all ages. All floaters must wear a life jacket. It's a safe voyage, not a race.

This year, instead of crossing the Willamette River, people floated downstream. They launched from Marquam Beach and took out at the Tom McCall Bowl – on the west bank of the river just south of the Hawthorne Bridge.

This year, instead of crossing the Willamette River, peopled floated downstream. They launched from Marquam Beach (same as last year) and took out at the Tom McCall Bowl – on the west bank of the river just south of the Hawthorne Bridge.

The event included an inner-tube parade and bands on a barge. The Big Float is open to all ages. All floaters must wear a life jacket. It’s a safe voyage, not a race.

Several local bands took turns playing on a barge while supporters listened from the water and the riverbank.

The rainbow pirates brought water guns.

The rainbow pirates brought water guns.

Our photo crew sailed into port yelling "Ahoy!"

Our photo crew sailed into port yelling “Ahoy!”

The jumbo turtles were pretty fast on the water.

The jumbo turtles were pretty fast on the water.

Steve Humphrey, Sara Daley and their mini boaters!

Steve Humphrey, Sara Daley and their mini boaters!

From the Big Float:

Despite public perception (which we are trying to change), the Willamette River is approved for summer swimming, except in the now very rare instances when Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) conditions are present.With the Big Pipe project now complete, it’s expected that a CSO will occur only once every two summers (but very likely never again). You are more likely to see a whale swim up the Willamette than see a CSO in summer! Oregon DEQ states that when CSO conditions are not present, “the Willamette River is safe for swimming and other recreational uses.”Questions? Click on the link below for official explanations of Willamette River water quality from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and City of Portland Office of Healthy Working Rivers.  Additionally visit the Bureau of Environmental Services Willamette River Water Quality Page to check in on weekly monitoring results at eight sites May-October.
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