access

The Human Access Project is turning the tide on how Portland works and plays with the Willamette River.

It’s mission is simple: Change the way our city interacts with the river that runs through it. The folks involved with the Project envision a day when Portlanders can interact with a clean, swimmer-friendly version of the Willamette. With correct stewardship, volunteer participation and an active sense of water-play, this nonprofit thinks it’s possible to heal the link between people and waterway.

Historically, the Willamette River was unsafe for people. However, the 2011 construction of the Big Pipe (the Portland’s largest public works projects to date) cut off the worst of sewer-to-river overflow. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the river is safe to swim in once again. However, years of neglect, abuse and industrial changes means that the Willamette is not the place it used to be, and that people don’t have the same ease of access to it.

That’s where the Human Access Project stepped up, and worked to open new beach areas, spread awareness of the Willamette’s history and condition, as well as keep working to clean it. They do this through various projects that aesthetically improve water-to-land connection points, open more beaches, and organizing cleanups. The Project also runs the annual Big Float, which serves the dual purpose of fundraising and giving Portlanders a fun day on the river.

This week at Portland Radio Project we featured the Human Access Project as part of our award-winning Community Voices series. Listen to interviews with key members of this nonprofit below:

Nastacia Voisin

I’m a recent University of Portland grad and an aspiring journalist. I hail originally from Ontario, Canada. My passions and pursuits vary – currently I’m into indie films, podcasts, live storytelling and tango.
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