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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 22 May 2022

As Portland Parks & Recreation prepares for summer 2022 program registration, the Bureau and Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio has issued a call to Portlanders to apply for training and summer jobs so the city can offer a full schedule of programs.

The bureau continues to experience the same staffing challenges as nearly all parks and recreation agencies across the country.

 A nationwide survey conducted by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) showed that 88% of park and recreation agencies indicate they are not fully staffed for lifeguards this summer season.

This summer, cities such as Phoenix and Austin have said they will only open half of their public pools due to lifeguard shortages, and leading park systems from Chicago to the Washington DC area are cutting back services. 

Given this, Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio encourages Portlanders to consider joining PP&R as a lifeguard, swim instructor, or other available capacities.

“We are ready and eager to offer Portlanders a full array of summer activities, from swim lessons to Free Summer Lunch and Play – but we need more staff,” said Commissioner Rubio.

“Whether you’re a teenager looking for your first job or an adult who loves building community and working with kids, we’ve got employment opportunities for you.”

Because of Portland’s aquatics staff shortage, when registration opens on Monday, swim lessons will only be available at outdoor pools. This aligns with past and expected community demand, and it allows the Bureau to maximize current capacity. Both indoor and outdoor pools will be open for exercise and family swim sessions.

But Commissioner Rubio stressed that the parks bureau can and will open more lessons, and lessons at Portland’s indoor pools, if it is able to hire and train more aquatics staff.

“We greatly appreciate Portlanders’ patience as the the parks bureau continues to recruit, hire, and train the valuable teammates who make our services possible,” Commissioner Rubio said.

“If you or someone you know is interested in helping kids learn to swim, while earning good wages with a flexible schedule, please go to the website to learn about and apply for available positions. If we can recruit, hire, and train more lifeguards soon, then the parks bureau can hopefully expand swim lesson opportunities throughout the summer.” 

Anyone age 16 and up is encouraged to apply. Portland Parks & Recreation has seasonal jobs, part-time work, and full-time careers. 

Training is free, including for lifeguards and swim instructors, and many part-time staff have gone on to established, long-term careers with the City.

Registration for summer 2022 activities

PP&R’s summer registration opens Monday, May 23, 2022. While some registrations can be done in-person or by phone, they make take longer. The fastest option is to sign up online at portland.gov/parks/register. 

Portland Parks & Recreation encourages online registration in place of calling or signing up in person. However, the Bureau recognizes that this is not an ideal option for everyone and is reassigning personnel to assist with phone and in-person summer registration efforts. 

To accommodate more people during the staffing and capacity challenges Portland Parks & Recreation is opening summer registration for four weeks at a time per the below schedule.

Community members should expect customer service delays related to capacity and appreciates Portlanders’ patience.

Early Registration Opens:

  • Friday, June 17, 2022, at 12:30pm
  • Monday, August 1, 2022, at 12:30pm

Activity session dates:

  • July 25 – September 4, 2022
  • September 5 – October 2, 2022



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