Thanks to PP&R for the information and Instagram followers for pictures - see their handles at the bottom.
When the weather finally gets hot in Portland, parks have got you covered. 14 Splash Pools, 7 interactive wading fountains, and 7 open outdoor swimming pools make for many days of summer fun for you and your family. We’ve highlighted 10 of our favorites below; making special mention of the outdoor swimming pools that have free admission times for the public.
Whilst researching this blog, we came across some interesting Portland history. The Parks Department first started developing the outdoor swimming pools as public bathing facilities. In the early 1900s few people in Portland had bathrooms or could afford running water to bathe. A private company ran a series of floating bath houses on the Willamette for many years, but after they turned over the keys to the newly formed Parks Department in the early 1900s, department officials found the facilities unsanitary due to public sewage flowing into the river often right next to the bathhouses. Most pools at the beginning were ether separated by sexes with one pool for men and one for women, or hosted alternate bathing days for women and men.
1. Bill Naito Legacy Fountain: [Pictured Above] Operates 6:30am - 8pm Monday-Friday in warm months
The Bill Naito Legacy fountain is named after a revered Portland business and civic leader whose name is also on the street that borders the Willamette River through downtown. A poem etched on the fountain honors Portland’s immigrants and diverse cultural influences that have shaped the city. “. . . a port city harbors their hopes – and a fountain flows here in their memory.”
2. Creston Outdoor Pool: Free Swim Time – Mondays from 1-4 pm
This SE Portland pool enjoys a whole host of summer activities to keep adults and children active and swimming. Children with good swimming skills can sign up for the summer swim league, and on August 20th at 7:30, Creston will host one of the Dive-In Movies. See the full schedule of dive-in movies here.
3. Dawson Fountain: Visitors just need to push the button at the picnic shelter to turn on the fountain
Installed in 2014 as part of the renovation of Dawson Park, the fountain includes 21 spray nozzles sequenced with a timer to allow interactive movement of the water and water saving capabilities. A series of seed-shaped seating elements are inscribed with the unique history of the neighborhood.
4. Jamison Square Fountain: Operates 8am - 10pm in warm months
As from an underground spring, water flows between stone joints into shallow pools in this fountain. Surrounding art pieces and grassy areas make this fountain one of the most beautiful and playful fountains in Portland.
5. McCoy Fountain: Operates 11am - 9pm in warm months
McCoy is the first decorative municipal fountain in north Portland. The playful “guessing” water feature sits at the south end of McCoy Park in the New Columbia neighborhood. The fountain sprays at random intervals from different jets making it a fun fountain for all ages.
6. Montavilla Outdoor Pool: Free Swim Time – Tuesdays from 1-2:30 pm
Montavilla is filled on most hot summer days with families and fun. Teenagers are welcome to enjoy FREE swimming Monday-Friday throughout the summer from 1-4pm. Montavilla is also reaching out to offer FREE Teen Beginner swimming lessons this summer as well. Families can sign up for swimming lessons by contacting the pool directly.
7. Peninsula Outdoor Pool: Free Swim Time – Thursdays from 1-2:55 pm
Located at the first community center of Portland, the Peninsula Pool has served the northeast Portland community for over 100 years. The pool also hosted Humboldt Penguins in 1957 when they arrived from Antarctica before the zoo was ready with their new home.
8. Pier Outdoor Pool: Free Swim Time – Fridays from 1:45-4:30
Located in one of Portland’s best parks, Pier Pool will offer a special Water Safety Day on July 28th from 2-3:30 to teach kids and parents alike boat and swimming safety practices and life vest fitting. The afternoon will finish off with a splash contest and prizes.
9. Sellwood Outdoor Pool: Free Swim Time – Wednesdays from 7:20-8:50 pm
Set in the serene and historic Sellwood Park, this pool was the first pool built by the Parks Department and has been in continuous use by the public since 1910. In the pool’s modest beginnings, women and men alternated days that they used the pool. Now everyone can swim and splash together every day of the week.
10. Teachers Fountain: Operates 8am - 10pm in warm months
Teachers Fountain is Portland's newest municipal fountain. It is "Dedicated to all who educate and inspire." The fountain is a playful but elegant display of arching jets and low burbles that run downhill into a shallow pool.
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