New Cathedral Park Dock Will Debut at Swim Party Next Weekend

The revitalization of Cathedral Park Beach began in 2021.

DOCK DAYS: Forest Park runs north from the St. Johns Bridge to Linnton. (NASHCO)

The Human Access Project, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing swimming in the Willamette River, is poised to debut a shiny new place in North Portland to do just that.

The nonprofit will celebrate the opening of a new, $900,000 dock at Cathedral Park on Saturday, June 29.

In 2022, HAP secured a $300,000 federal grant from the American Rescue Plan Act and partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation to replace the Cathedral Park Dock. The $900,000 project includes swim ladders and pontoons for better water circulation. Much of the remaining funding came from public coffers, though WW is still obtaining a full breakdown of the financing.

The dock is a capstone on the nonprofit’s work to restore the beach in St. Johns. The revitalization of Cathedral Park Beach began in 2021, with 100 volunteers removing 25 tons of concrete and rubble from the north side of the beach. The cleanup efforts continued on the south side in 2023, with 150 volunteers removing 125 tons of concrete and debris.

“Ultimately HAP feels a grand opening party is important to bring attention to how much the river edge of the beach has changed,” Human Access Project founder Willie Levenson wrote to WW. “This party is an invitation to St. Johns to celebrate the new dock and beach.”

Against the backdrop of the St. Johns Bridge, the celebration will include a ribbon cutting led by Portland Parks & Recreation director Adena Long and Portland Bureau of Environmental Services director Dawn Uchiyama.

From 2 to 8 pm, attendees can enjoy live music, food, a free basic swim skills clinic for kids, free kayak rentals, a performance by Rose City Raindrops Synchronized Swim Team, and more. The celebration marks the beginning of HAP swim week, which runs through July 5.

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