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    Photo: Miranda Daviduk/OPB

8 Most Creative Rafts Of Portland's 2018 Big Float


What do a unicorn, diamond ring and an avocado all have in common? They were among the thousands of colorful and eclectic rafts seen at Portland's 2018 Big Float.

What do a unicorn, diamond ring and an avocado all have in common?

They were among the thousands of colorful and eclectic rafts seen at Portland’s 2018 Big Float. 

Hundreds of people came to Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland to participate in the Big Float, an annual event that aims to raise support for Willamette River preservation. 

Hundreds of people came to Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland to participate in the Big Float, an annual event that aims to raise support for Willamette River preservation. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

The annual event is organized by the Human Access Project in an effort to encourage people to recreate in the Willamette River.

After Portland completed the Big Pipe system in 2011 to address combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the river, the Willamette has seen a 94 percent reduction of CSOs. Although the Willamette has a negative public perception, water quality reports indicate the water is safe for swimming and recreating.

Come on in, the water’s fine. Really.

“It’s a lot cleaner than I thought,” said Sonya Morud, holding a donut-shaped inner tube. Morud said although she loves being around water and floating on things, this was her first time swimming in the Willamette.

But with Portland temperatures exceeding 87 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, it was an ideal day for those who ordinarily don’t swim in the river to jump in.

Equipped with an assortment of inflatable items, thousands participated in this year’s eighth annual float. Here are some of the most creative floats we saw.

McKenzie Webster from Eugene, Ore. and her watermelon raft. 

McKenzie Webster from Eugene, Ore. and her watermelon raft. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

Brian Fleischer from New Orleans, La. with a diamond ring float. 

Brian Fleischer from New Orleans, La. with a diamond ring float. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

A rainbow unicorn float is carried down to the Willamette River by a group of people participating in the Big Float. 

A rainbow unicorn float is carried down to the Willamette River by a group of people participating in the Big Float. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

Florence Ajunwa from Abington, Pa. cools off in the Willamette River in her mermaid tail float. 

Florence Ajunwa from Abington, Pa. cools off in the Willamette River in her mermaid tail float. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

Bailey Cook with a taco raft. 

Bailey Cook with a taco raft. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

Jeremiah Peone, recent transplant to Portland, Ore. with his turtle float. 

Jeremiah Peone, recent transplant to Portland, Ore. with his turtle float. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

Tony Lieder from Portland, Ore. and his rooster rafts. 

Tony Lieder from Portland, Ore. and his rooster rafts. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

Emily Buchholz from Portland, Ore. with her pineapple float. 

Emily Buchholz from Portland, Ore. with her pineapple float. 

Miranda Daviduk/OPB

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