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Convincing Portland to Swim in the Willamette River

Long associated with sewage, Oregon’s Willamette has finally been declared safe for recreation. One activist wants residents to test the waters.
A scene from The Big Float V, held in July
A scene from The Big Float V, held in July Human Access Project

Willie Levenson sat up in his tube and paddled with cupped hands to counteract a swell in the Willamette River, its waters momentarily disrupted by the wake of a passing boat. As little waves lapped against the shore, the surface became calm once again. He leaned back into a lounging position and sploshed his feet in the river.

Levenson may look like a strong contender for the title of laziest activist in America. But don’t mistake him for a do-nothing river rat.