Mayor Wheeler, 'River Huggers' take a dip in the Willamette Rive - KPTV - FOX 12

Mayor Wheeler, 'River Huggers' take a dip in the Willamette River

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(KPTV/Marilyn Deutsch) (KPTV/Marilyn Deutsch)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The next couple days are going to heat up, and it will be hot enough for a swim in local rivers.

Early Monday morning, a swim team called the River Huggers, along with Mayor Ted Wheeler, took a dip in the Willamette River in their wet suits. They swam a half mile lap from the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge to the west end and back.

While the Willamette River has gotten a bad rap over the years for sewage overflows that might deter some people from jumping in, city officials say the river is now clean enough to swim in.

"Th water quality is good. There's very little runoff now that we've completed the pipe. So I'm personally trying to show people this is safe," said Mayor Wheeler. "I've swam here before, the water quality is good."

The River Huggers are part of the Human Access Project, which encourages Portlanders to think of the Willamette River as "blue space" to be enjoyed like local greenspaces.

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