Hundreds gather to break world record on Willamette

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by KGW.com staff

NWCN.com

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 10:16 PM

PORTLAND – Hundreds of people from all over the world joined hands and set what appears to be a new world record on the Willamette River Friday.

With enough air for 700 floats and enough bodies to fill them, a world-record attempt for the longest float line appeared within reach.

"Vergio, Italy, they got 542. I hope they've enjoyed the record. It's Portland's time,” said organizer Will Levenson.

The Portland record would have to come courtesy of visitors to the city. Hundreds of those paying the $20 entry for a life jacket and float had never seen the Willamette.

"There's a conference in town right now called ‘world domination.’ People have flown in from all over the world -- 3,000 people in Portland,” Levenson said. “It's really kind of a fun way for these visitors to get to know Portland for the first time."

The out-of-towners seemed more concerned about the 72-degree water temperature than they were about what's in the river.

"I think it looks alright. I've seen dirtier no worries. (In) Dubai the man-made marina can be dirtier sometime,s so no worries we'll just jump in,” Levenson said.

Levenson tried to set the record during last year's big float but getting everyone to hold hands at the same time proved to be a challenge. This time he says he's more organized.

"The Guinness parameters are really simple. You have to hold hands in the water for 30 seconds,” he said.

To meet Guinness requirements, Levenson had two people counting the floaters, two judges watching from boats, and two court reporters. It was then all captured on video to be submitted.

More than two hours after the first float went in the water, the world record still unofficial became a reality.

"I had no doubt it was going to happen, but it feels good. It's fun. it's good for the river," Levenson said.

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