Kelley Point Park reopens after drownings; people urged to stay - KPTV - FOX 12

Kelley Point Park reopens after drownings; people urged to stay out of the water

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New signs have been installed at Kelley Point Park in Portland. (Images: KPTV/Portland Parks & Recreation) New signs have been installed at Kelley Point Park in Portland. (Images: KPTV/Portland Parks & Recreation)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Kelley Point Park has reopened following a temporary closure after two people drowned, but city leaders are urging people to stay out of the water.

The park closed on Aug. 22 to allow Portland Parks & Recreation staff to install additional and larger "Do not enter water" signs.The park reopened Thursday. 

Nearly three dozen signs at the park have a swimming icon surrounded by a red circle and line through it. The signs have messages in English and 14 other languages.

Earlier this month, a 10-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man drowned at the park in separate incidents.

Kelley Point Park is at the confluence of the Columbia River and Willamette River. Portland Parks & Recreation staff said there are several factors that make swimming or wading off the park different and dangerous from other areas, including powerful currents, an uneven bank, unknown underwater obstructions, a land shelf with an abrupt and deep drop-off and locations where people's feet suddenly get caught in sticky mud in deep water.

Portland Fire & Rescue works diligently to rescue swimmers in trouble, but firefighters say prevention and awareness are the most effective tools to keep people out of danger.

Portland Parks & Recreation workers have begun asking websites and partners that count Kelley Point Park as a swimming destination to remove the park from their listings, saying the conditions are too unpredictable to be considered safe for swimming or wading at this time.

More safety measures are possible in the future after further analysis.

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