Sellwood Pool opens - closes during heat wave - reopens
After being closed for its entire 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the iconic Sellwood Pool finally reopened to the public for the first time since the fall of 2019 on June 22 – a joyous day for both its staff and local swimmers.
Other than last year, this outdoor swimming pool, now operated by Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), has been in annual use since 1910. Splashing around, enjoying the water features, and taking swimming lessons at the pool, have been part of the history of many Inner Southeast families for generations.
"We're so excited to be back, and open to the public, even if we're a little bit more restrictive in our regulations and our rules now than we have been in the past," grinned Pool Manager Teresa O'Loughin, as another "Open Swim" period was about to begin.
A difference from previous seasons is that, this year, guests must register in advance, online, for a spot – walk-ins are not permitted at this time. "Also, our 'Recreational Play Swims' are currently an hour long, giving us time to clear the pool and sanitize the areas to reset for the next session. All of our 'Lap Swims' and 'Water Exercise' sessions are also by online reservation only, too.
"We're still running with about half the staff; we have some 35 folks here as we are starting up; so we're keeping our swimmers' numbers down [how many people may be in the pool during one session] from what you might have seen in the past. "
Swimming lessons were scheduled to begin on June 28. However the record-setting heat wave postponed those sessions for a few days. Indeed, many swimmers and splashers were deeply disappointed to find PP&R's outdoor pools, as well as some of its indoor pools, were closed just when they were needed most – during the height of the sweltering, record-breaking heat wave at the end of June.
"After several lifeguards experienced heat-related illnesses on Sunday, June 27 – including one who required a 9-1-1 call – PP&R closed all outdoor pools to protect the staff and guests from the extreme 116 degree heat on Monday, June 28th," explained the Parks Bureau's spokesperson, Mark Ross, about the heat-related closure.
"Due to the extremely high outdoor temperatures, we didn't reopen the pools until Tuesday, June 29," Ross told THE BEE. "In addition, several indoor pools had to be closed during the heat wave, too, due to heat-related equipment failures."
While PP&R plans to have its cool pools open for the remainder of the summer, "The outdoor pools may close if extreme heat again makes conditions too dangerous for guests and staff," Ross said.
To sign up for a swim, lessons, or for more information, go online to the Sellwood Pool's official webpage – www.portland.gov/parks/sellwood-outdoor-pool
Here's a brief BEE video of the water fun resuming in late June at the Sellwood Pool: youtu.be/lfp3qWRxJdA
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