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It doesn't really seem like summer in Southeast Portland without the Sellwood Pool open; wait till next year

DAVID F. ASHTON - The gates are closed, and will stay that way, at the Sellwood Pool this summer - due both to the COVID-19 shutdown, and to the resulting loss of operating revenue. Although this year's summer weather didn't "kick in" until mid-July, residents all over Inner Southeast Portland have been saddened that the historic Sellwood Pool will not be open this summer – for the first time in 91 years – due primarily to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.

"I really wanna go swimming again here," complained 5-year-old Jimmy Cantor, as he walked past the still-covered outdoor pool, on the way to Sellwood Park with his mother, Janine.

Since the first version of the public in-ground swimming pool opened in 1910 – later reconstructed in 1996 – this Portland Parks and Recreation swimming pool has been open every summer, according to PP&R spokesperson Mark Ross. "After checking, we don't think Sellwood Pool, or any other PP&R pool, has ever been closed for a full summertime."

PP&R pools will likely stay closed the whole summer – "COVID effects notwithstanding" – because of city budgetary issues, Ross added. "Our 'operating budget' depends largely on fees generated from people taking classes, registering for camps and swim lessons, securing permits, and so forth. So, about 50 cents of every dollar in our Recreation division budget comes from those fees.

"We haven't been able to earn needed fees, after closing pools and community centers," Ross pointed out. "This meant that in Spring 2020 we had to lay off, or to not hire, hundreds of seasonal employees who normally help in our busiest season – summertime."

This loss of revenue means PP&R's pools will remain closed, and community centers shuttered, through the season, "Regardless of COVID reopening phases," Ross said.


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