The City is investigating the best site in the Central Reach to consider as a potential swimming beach.
The Urban Design Concept that was developed based on input from Central Reach stakeholders identified several shallow-water areas with potential as public swimming beaches. The Eastbank Crescent is one of the sites, and the Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan is considering the incorporation of a family-oriented beach in the design.
Because the City does not currently manage or operate a public beach, the Central City Potential Swimming Beach Study was commissioned to examine the feasibility of establishing a public swimming beach on the Willamette River. The study results will be presented to the Portland City Council in early 2017.
The Swimming Beach Study:
- Investigates key criteria for development of a safe, accessible public swimming beach.
- Evaluates five of the identified shallow-water areas to determine how each site addresses these criteria.
- Ranks the sites against each other and provides insight into the level of investment and types of amenities that would be necessary to develop a successful public beach.
The sites were selected with consideration of ease of access to the Central City; current use as river access for swimming; presence of shallow, wade-able water; ownership by the public or in planning for future public recreational uses; and located outside of and away from industrial areas.
In addition to the Eastbank Crescent, the four other sites under evaluation are:
- McCormick Pier, north of the Steel Bridge on the west side of the river.
- Waterfront Park Bowl, just south of the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge.
- “Poetry by the Beach,” under the Marquam Bridge on the west side of the river.
- Zidell Property, in South Waterfront on the west side of the river.
To help identify criteria for a successful public beach and gauge public interest in a swimming beach in the Central Reach, Portland Parks and Recreation conducted a survey targeting youth, young adults and families throughout the city, including historically underserved communities. Respondents overwhelmingly supported the idea of a public beach on the Willamette River in the heart of the city.
The City does not have funding to develop a public swimming beach at this time, but the Swimming Beach Study is the first step to determine the best sites to consider for the future.