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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589


1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

Willamette River's 3rd Annual Big Float!

July 30, 2013

Last Sunday, “floating enthusiasts” celebrated the Willamette River during the 3rd annual Big Float, an event intended to dismantle the public perception that the Willamette River is unsafe to play and swim in.

This fun Portland party encourages rivergoers to jump in, splash around, grab their inner-tubes and enjoy the Portland summer with a cruise down the Willamette.

In 2011, the City of Portland completed the $1.44 billion Big Pipe project, the largest public works project in our history. The Big Pipe system was put in place specifically to address Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO), which hurt water quality in the Willamette.

Way back when, it only took a tenth of an inch of rain to cause sewage to flow from the sewer system directly into the Willamette! Fortunately, the Big Pipe changed all that. In March 2011, the new Big Pipe system went through its toughest test yet when Portland had its wettest March in recorded history. It passed with flying colors – there wasn’t a single CSO event for the entire month!

Thanks to the Big Pipe, the Willamette River is now a safe place to swim and play. We hope you take some time to enjoy the river this summer.

Don't worry if you missed this year's Big Float, planning for next year is already underway!

Big Float 3 on the Willamette River

In The Skanner News

photo courtesy of