On Sunday, July 29th, I attended the second annual Big Float event on the Willamette River. Sponsored in part by the Office of Healthy Working Rivers along with founders the Willamette Riverkeepers and Popina Swimwear co-owner Will Levinson, The Big Float was created to encourage recreational use of the Willamette. The water in the area around the Hawthorne Bridge is safe for swimming, thanks to ratepayers' investment of $1.4 billion to end frequent Combined Sewer Overflows. Participants in The Big Float paddle on inner tubes or other sometimes-creative devices from the east side of the river to the west. In addition to offering a chance to cool off on a hot summer day, The Big Float featured a floating music barge, a pre-float parade, a Kids Activity Area provided by members of the Grand Ronde Tribe, an after-float party, and several other attractions.
Eric (shown) and Cindy hosted me on the river in their boat to help me count the participants in the attempt to break the Guinness World Record for number of people holding hands while floating on inner tubes. We had 492 in line, plus about another 100 in a second disconnected line. The world record is 550 all holding hands for 30 seconds, so next year we hope to break it if we can get everyone organized.
Thanks to Will Levinson the lead organizer of The Big Float, the Office of Healthy Working Rivers (sponsor, and Director Ann Beier participated), Eric, Cindy and boat-mates Dave and Laura, The Skanner/KBOO's Lisa Loving who helped with counting, and all 600+ who participated.