River Hugger Swim Team
The River Hugger Swim Team is organized by the not for profit organization Human Access Project. Human Access Project's mission is to "Transform Portland's Relationship with the Willamette River. The River Hugger Swim Team is a recreational protest swim to bring attention to the extreme deficit of water edge access in downtown Portland. By Portland Parks & Recreation estimates only 5% of the Central City currently has access to the waters edge.

The Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning swim is ¼ mile each direction and typically takes 20-25 minutes to get over and back. Advanced swimmers have the option of a second lap for a full mile swim.

The Tuesday and Thursday evening swims do not cross the Willamette River. It is a swim from the Fire House Dock to the Morrision Bridge, this swim is a little over 0.3 mile each direction. Experience in open water swimming is highly recommended. All participants must have intermediate swimming skills. All new participants are encouraged to wear fins.

In partnership with Portland Fire, this year the River Huggers will have storage locker on the firehouse dock to store belongings while we are on the water.

When: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 7am-8am as Well as every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00-7:00pm

Where: Fire Station 21 Madison Dock on the Esplanade (05 SE Madison Street). There is plenty of parking on SE Madison.

Cost: $3 per swim or $50 for the season (total anticipated swims 35). River Hugger Swim Caps are available for $15, which includes your first swim. All funds go to support the Human Access Project.

Contact Eli at eli.m.nicholson@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to volunteer as a safety paddler. All safety paddlers will receive a Bogo Chipotle Burrito card valued at $10 and lots of river karma.


Before swimming in the Willamette River with the “River Hugger Swim Team”, you are required to read and acknowledge this agreement:

1. I am over the age of 18 years. I am a competent swimmer capable of completing a mile continuous swim.

2. I know that swimming is inherently dangerous with the risk of drowning and death. I know that swimming in the Willamette River involves additional risks, known and unknown, including but not limited to, risks due to tides, currents and debris. I know that the Willamette River is a busy waterway, and by swimming in it, I am exposing myself to additional risks, known and unknown, including but not limited to, collision with watercraft.

3. I know that there is no lifeguard, and there are only extremely limited safety precautions in place for my swim. I will not
enter the water if I am unsure of my condition and ability. I shall not swim or enter the water if feeling unwell.

4. I will wear a brightly colored swim hat at all times whilst in the water.

5. In the event I get into difficulty during the swim session I shall roll on to my back and signal for rescue by raising either the left or right arm in the air.

6. I will provide the appropriate contact details in the event of emergency and agree these can be kept in the appropriate record files until the end of the swim season.

7. I will not enter into the space of the other water users.

8. I agree to take full responsibility for my belongings while participating with the River Hugger Swim Team and take away any litter.

9. I acknowledge it is my responsibility to have the correct insurance to cover against any injuries or losses I may incur while participating in the “River Hugger Swim Team” swim.

10. I acknowledge my legal responsibility not to put myself at risk or others at risk due to my own actions or omissions.

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