Riding your bike to a swimming hole is one of life’s finer pleasures, but for those of us who live in the metro area, finding a place to get wet and cool off that’s within biking distance is a challenge. With many public fountains turned off due to the coronavirus it’s harder than ever to find relief on these hot days.
That’s why I was so excited to hear that local nonprofit Human Access Project (HAP) is working to improve swimming conditions at Duckworth Dock — and the project comes with a new bike parking area. For the uninitiated, the Kevin J. Duckworth Memorial Dock was named after late Trail Blazer legend Kevin Duckworth (who loved to fish). It’s located on the east bank of the Willamette River just south of the Steel Bridge on the floating portion of the Esplanade. You’ve probably biked by it hundreds of times.
HAP Ringleader Willie Levenson reached out to us to share the good news. After six years of lobbying and activism he finally got the green light to make the dock an official public swimming area. The first order of business was to install eight ladders on the dock. That happened earlier this month. More improvements are still to come, including a bike parking area that will be located right at the bottom of the northern set of ramps (see lead image).
According to Levenson, there will be two new bike parking locations on the Esplanade ramps for a total of 20 spaces. Here are the plans:
Bike access is crucial for this new public space because it’s literally in the middle of the river and there’s no developed trailhead or parking lot nearby. Bikes are quite simply the most convenient and quickest way for most people to access the dock. Having quality bike racks will be such a welcome addition.
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s safe to swim in the Willamette at this location, the answer is yes — especially in summer when there’s no rainwater runoff. The City of Portland monitors several sites for bacteria levels on a weekly basis and according to recent samples the water is fine.
Learn more about this project on HAP’s website and check out the short video below. Then grab your bike and check it out!
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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Go Willie and HAP, and thanks to PBOT!
Thanks also to the Oregon State Marine Board, who initially funded the dock, and relieved the City of it’s grant obligations early, so that the City and HAP could move forward this summer.
Somewhat related, possibly good news: the marine board is reviewing extension of the no-wake zone all the way to the Steel Bridge.
Making all of downtown a no-wake zone would be a huge improvement for this stretch of river. Say yes to pollution-free active river activities!
I would like to the no wake extended to the St John’s Bridge, but extending to the Steel Bridge would be a great start!
What is the date on the bike parking being added?