Proceeds to benefit projects of nonprofit groups for parks, North Clackamas watersheds

A colorful, rubber-duck race over Kellogg Creek Dam, followed by an evening of upbeat music from BridgeCity Soul, along with food, drink, exotic ice cream and riverfront views at Milwaukie Bay Park — what's not to like?COURTESY PHOTO: MILWAUKIE PARKS FOUNDATION - Colorful ducks await the moment when they will race over the Kellogg Dam. They move fast, so don't blink.

Milwaukie Parks Foundation board members Virginia Pai and Lisa Lashbrook are the coordinators of the race during this year's free Aug. 13 event.

This is a fun event, Pai said, because "the concept of rubber ducks racing in itself is cute" and she also likes the fact that everyone enjoys watching the race, especially children.

This year's race is particularly special, as it "supports two important projects — removal of the Kellogg Dam and the Milwaukie Bay Park Children's play area," Pai said.

Milwaukie City Councilor Lisa Batey has been involved with all three duck races since the event began in 2017.

That first year the North Clackamas Watersheds Council sponsored the event, which was in the parking area in front of the Kellogg Water Resource Recovery Facility, with some live music and some informational booths from various community groups.

"Then NCWC had a change of directors and board leadership, and that event didn't happen again, until the Milwaukie Parks Foundation expressed an interest in partnering," Batey said, adding that in 2021 and 2022 the duck races have been a joint production of the two groups.

"It's a great way to support two local nonprofits working to enhance our parks and watersheds, and it's fun to attend, too, although you need not be present to win," she said.

Last year, Batey was on the crew that was trying to capture all the ducks in the mouth of Kellogg Creek before they got into the Willamette.COURTESY PHOTO: MILWAUKIE PARKS FOUNDATION - Onlookers watch as 300 rubber ducks race to the finish line in last year's duck race.

"I lost my footing and took a couple of dunks into the creek, much to the enjoyment of onlookers. I hope not to reprise that this year, and hope there are younger, nimbler people to do the duck-recovery work," she added.

Kellogg Dam update

Racing ducks will raise critical funding and gather citizens to learn about the need for the upcoming Kellogg Dam removal project and how it will be accomplished, said Neil Schulman, executive director of North Clackamas Watersheds Council.

"The Duck Race is obviously a fun, lighthearted way to celebrate the momentum of the project," he said. "With all the improvements at Milwaukie Bay Park, the trail undercrossing that can run below Highway 99E when the dam is removed will also be better for pedestrians."

He added that the watershed council is partnering with American Rivers, the city of Milwaukie, and the Oregon Department of Transportation in the dam removal project.

"With the funds available thanks to Senator Merkley, we are moving forward with the design of the channel and the development of a 'preferred alternative' of where the channel alignment could go," Schulman said.

"We're talking to neighbors who live along the creek and lake to make sure they're involved in the process if they want to be," he said,

"Folks who buy a property along a body of water have a vested interest, as well as a personal passion, for that stream being healthy," Schulman said.

He added that the federal infrastructure funding over the next few years "presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for large-scale funding for final design and construction."

Duck race and free concert

When: Race begins at 5 p.m. and concert at 6 p.m.

Where: Milwaukie Bay Park, 11211 S.E. McLoughlin Blvd.

Buy a duck: $5 tickets will be sold at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Lewelling Concert Series at Ball-Michel Park, 9781 S.E. Stanley Ave., and at 6 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Ardenwald Concert Series at Ardenwald Park, 3667 S.E. Roswell St. Milwaukie Parks Foundation volunteers will also sell duck tickets at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 7 at the Milwaukie Farmers Market, 10723 S.E. Main St.

Prizes: The sponsor of the fastest duck wins $150 cash, with $100 and $50 for second and third places, respectively. The remainder of proceeds are split between the MPF and the North Clackamas Watershed Council.

Sponsors: Milwaukie Parks Foundation, North Clackamas Watersheds Council and North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District.

More: Visit to learn more about MPF and the duck race.

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