Portland's Outdoor Pools Set To Open

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s seven outdoor pools will open on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in providing recreational opportunities for the Rose City. The seven pools are in addition to PP&R’s four year-round indoor pools. Portland’s pools feature lap swim and water fitness, open play and family swims, and limited swim lessons.

PP&R continues to experience staffing challenges like nearly all parks and recreation agencies across the country. The PP&R aquatics program is affected by ongoing recruitment and hiring struggles.

The challenge is not unique to Portland. A nationwide survey conducted by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) showed that 88% of park and recreation agencies indicate they are not fully staffed for lifeguards this summer season. This summer, cities such as Phoenix and Austin have said they will only open half of their public pools due to lifeguard shortages, and leading park systems from Chicago to the Washington DC area are cutting back services. 

As a result of Portland’s current aquatics staff shortage (there are also shortages in departments bureau-wide), swim lessons will only be available at outdoor pools this summer. This aligns with past and expected community demand, and it allows the Bureau to maximize its current capacity. PP&R’s outdoor pools provide the largest capacity for swim lessons. Despite these challenges, both indoor and outdoor pools will be open for exercise and lap swim at regular times. Family and open swim sessions are also taking place only at outdoor pools, except for limited indoor play swims at Matt Dishman Community Center. 

Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio stressed that PP&R can and will open more lessons, and lessons at Portland’s indoor pools, if it is able to hire and train more aquatics staff.

“We greatly appreciate Portlanders’ patience as the Parks Bureau continues to recruit, hire, and train the valuable teammates who make PP&R’s services possible,” Commissioner Rubio said. “If you or someone you know is interested in helping kids learn to swim while earning good wages with a flexible schedule, please go to the PP&R website to learn about and apply for available positions. If we can recruit, hire, and train more lifeguards soon, then PP&R can hopefully expand swim lesson opportunities throughout the summer.”

You can find out more information at Portland Parks & Recreation Aquatics information page: portland.gov/parks/recreation/pools


PP&R offers fun, fulfilling jobs in a welcoming and inclusive work environment; anyone age 16 and up is encouraged to apply. Portland Parks & Recreation has seasonal jobs, part-time work, and full-time careers. 

Training is free, including for lifeguards and swim instructors, and many part-time staff have gone on to established, long-term careers with the City.

Employment link: portland.gov/parks/employment


The next summer registration session opens Monday, June 27, 2022. While some registrations can be done in-person or by phone, the fastest option is to sign up online at portland.gov/parks/register.  If you are not able to sign up for your preferred offering, we strongly encourage you to get on the waitlist.

PP&R is experiencing staffing shortages at all levels, including customer service and registration support – vacancies and illness. As such, the bureau is encouraging people to register online. The bureau recognizes that this is not an ideal option for everyone and is reassigning some personnel to assist with phone and in-person summer registration efforts.  

To accommodate more people during the staffing and capacity challenges facing Portland Parks & Recreation, we are opening summer registration for four weeks at a time per the below schedule. 

General Registration: Register online, over the phone through the PP&R Customer Service Center (503-823-2525), or by calling or visiting a recreation or arts center. 

Early Registration: As part of our Parks Local Option Levy commitment, we are working to improve access for people of color, seniors, teens, households experiencing poverty, immigrants and refugees, and people living with disabilities. PP&R provides information to local community organizations that share early registration opportunities with their community members. 

Interested organizations can email parks.recreation@portlandoregon.gov to register as partners or to learn more.

Early registration is available one week before to general registration at 12:30 pm. Partner organizations and their community members can inquire about early registration through the Customer Service Center at (503) 823-2525 or by calling or visiting a PP&R community or arts center. 

Source: City of Portland

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