Kelley Point Park reopens; people told to avoid water

Don't go in the water at Kelley Point Park

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It's a beautiful park that has seen several tragedies.

Portland Parks and Recreation closed Kelley Point Park in August after a 10-year-old girl drowned. It was the second death this year. Now, more than a week later, they are re-opening the park but with disclaimers everywhere.

Many people visited Kelley Point, including a couple vacationing from Mexico who had never seen a river so big.

“For us it is a special day,” said Gerardo Ruiz. “I think the river is too big. I was like wow I can't believe this is a river.”

Gerardo is not fluent in English but with 36 signs posted in 15 languages, he got the message no one should go in the water.

“No nadir. No swimming,” said Gerardo.

Even after two deaths in 2016 some people like Minda Lacey said they didn't have any idea the water was so dangerous.

“It definitely doesn't seem that scary. The water looks pretty calm and tame," she said.

The connection of two rivers makes the current powerful and unpredictable and there are dangers below the surface. Holes that people can fall into, steep drop offs, and obstructions that can trip and snag your feet.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Parks Director Mike Abbate met to get the word out.

“Something you think is clear today could be very different tomorrow. So that's the biggest danger,” said Abbate. “We don't know what the sub-water conditions are and they change day to day.”

Portland Parks will be teaming up with the Coast Guard and other agencies to try and decide if there are any areas that could one day be safe for swimming. Or if there are any areas that can be made safe. So far, they say it is safer to stay out of the water all together.

A GoFundMe account for the 10-year-old girl who died at Kelley Point Park.



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