No Lifeguards, Just Life Jackets at High Rocks And Glenn Otto Park

Portland, Ore. – Today is forecasting to be the hottest day of the week around the Portland metro area. Some areas have already topped 90 degrees. Many love to cool down at popular spots on local rivers. High Rocks in Gladstone is a famous place where people like to jump into the Clackamas river from rock cliffs above. Also many like Glenn Otto Park on the Sandy river. Usually both of these places have lifeguards stationed there, because so many people use the areas. Tragically, many people have died in these spots too because of dangerous river conditions.

Right now, those spots may be even more dangerous, because there are no lifeguards there right now thanks to Covid-19. The pandemic has shutdown life guard training and certification. Also it would be hard to stay six feet apart during an emergency river rescue when you’re pulling someone out of the water.

If you head out to the river be extra careful. Rivers are still flowing high and fast from all the June rain runoff. Plus, we are just starting to warm up for the beginning of summer and the water temperatures are still very cold. Jumping into 50 degree water can shock and temporarily paralyze even the strongest swimmers.

Even though there are no lifeguards at High Rocks and Glenn Otto, there are life jacket stations setup there where you can borrow jackets. Just please return them once you’re done so other swimmers and people can also use the river safely.

Read more from AMR:

Joint Statement from AMR and Cities of Gladstone and Troutdale

(Portland, OR) COVID-19 has changed many things this year including ability to have AMR’s River Rescue Team (Lifeguards) at High Rocks Park in Gladstone/Oregon City, and Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale.  The lifeguards will NOT be on duty at the parks until they can conduct the yearly USLA (United States Lifesaving Association) training requirements (swim tests, etc.) and can provide the service safely.

Currently there are no facilities open to conduct mandatory swim testing and training, nor is there a means of protecting our emergency medical providers/rescuers from COVID-19 exposure while they conduct contact rescues and resuscitation on swimmers in distress.

The safety of rescue personnel and the public is our priority.  We want the public to know of this change and be prepared. In the absence of Lifeguards at High Rocks and Glenn Otto Parks, visitors need to be extra careful and take the following suggestions to heart:

  • Wear a life jacket when you are in or near the water (children should wear them at all times and be within arm’s reach under constant supervision)
  • Life jackets will be available at both sites on an honor system. The lifeguards will not be present to issue/loan and recover the life jackets, but we encourage people to use them and return when they depart the park.
  • Be aware of the risk of cold shock due to cold spring water temperatures (~ 50 degrees)
  • Carefully read and follow all signage
  • Swim at your own risk

About American Medical Response

American Medical Response, Inc., America’s leading provider of medical transportation, provides services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. More than 28,000 AMR paramedics, EMTs, RNs and other professionals work together to transport more than 4.8 million patients nationwide each year in critical, emergency and non-emergency situations. AMR also provides fire services through Rural Metro Fire Department,, and managed transportation services through Access2Care, AMR is a subsidiary of Global Medical Response, For more information about AMR, visit and follow American Medical Response on Facebook @AMR_Social on Twitter and Instagram. Locally, AMR provides ambulance services in Multnomah, Clackamas and Clark Counties. AMR and its predecessor companies have served Portland area communities since 1913.

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