Historic Sellwood Pool opens just in time for solstice heat wave

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR COOL POOL VIDEO | With the Montavilla Pool opening in late July, and the Mt. Scott Pool shut down for the season, hot, sunny days brought families from outer East Portland over to visit this 114-year-old pool …

Now that school’s out for the summer, it’s time to jump into one of the four open PP&R outdoor pools, as these two are doing.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The day after the last school day for Portland Public Schools students – June 20th, and also the Summer Solstice – happily, was the opening day for Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) outdoor pools.

With the Montavilla Pool closed for renovation until mid July, and the Mt. Scott-Arleta Community Center pool closed for construction, many outer East Portland folks found the storied Sellwood Pool, first opened in 1910, was the preferred destination for many families, as temperatures surpassed the 90° mark that afternoon.

Early arrivals cooling off in the Sellwood Pool on opening day include Lexie Stone and Julia.

The line for the pool’s 1 p.m. “Open Swim” session extended out of the building, and snaked quite a ways into Sellwood Park. Even though the temperature kept rising, everyone in line “kept their cool” and patiently waited, knowing what was in store for them.

Take a look, and actually take brief dip with a family, on PF&R’s Outdoor Opening Pool Day:

“We’re ready for our first day; and with the staffing we have here, we’ll be running at a capacity of 300 people this afternoon,” said Sellwood Pool Aquatic Leader Jack Grigsby, now a four-year veteran at the facility.

Trained lifeguards keep an eye out for unsafe behavior, or pool-goers in trouble.

“All of our lifeguards go through three days of training, getting about 20 hours of education and orientation, in order to be able to work here,” Grigsby informed. “We’re fully-equipped to respond to any emergency that we might have here.

“And, we continue weekly trainings, including a lot of different drills, for both life-saving in the water and the pool area, and first aid as well.”

After checking and approving guests’ swimming ability, Sellwood Pool Aquatics Coordinator and Manager Teresa O’Loughlin gives each one a wrist band, allowing them into the deep end of the pool.

Out poolside, Sellwood Pool Aquatics Coordinator and Manager Teresa O’Loughlin was checking the swimming ability of those wanting to paddle into the deep end.

“During play swims, all swimmers who want to swim in the deep end are required to pass a ‘swim test’ and wear a wristband, indicating they are approved to be in the deep end,” O’Loughlin explained. “Non-swimmers, and those without a wristband, are asked to move to the shallow areas.”

At the far end of the pool, another guest splashes in, after zipping down the water slide.

Also this season, O’Loughlin pointed out, life jackets are not permitted down the big slides, or in the deep end of the pool.

By the way, when the Sellwood Pool fills to capacity and no more are admitted, keep in mind the Creston Outdoor Pool on SE Powell Boulevard at 44th Avenue! It’s now open too.

And, for those of our readers who live deep in outer East Portland, remember that the East Portland Community Center Aquatic Center [CLICK HERE to see their webpage] is also a great place to cool off on hot summer days.

To learn about other activities at PP&R pools, see all of the rules and regulations, and check their days and hours of operation, see the official webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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