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.
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.