Grand opening celebration of the new dock at Cathedral Park

Ribbon-cutting for the Grand opening of a new dock at Cathedral Park
Ribbon-cutting for the Grand opening of a new dock at Cathedral Park. From Left: Commissioners Carmen Rubio, Dan Ryan, Parks Director, Adena Long, Willie Levenson of Human Access Project, and BES Director Dawn Uchiyama. Photo by Calico Rose.

Human Access Project (HAP), a Portland nonprofit group that advocates for recreational access to the Willamette, hosted a grand opening party for the new Cathedral Park Dock and renovated beach on Saturday, June 29. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by the Portland Park’s Department Director, Adena Long. Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association co-sponsored the event.

Cathedral Park is the main access to the Willamette River for North Portlanders and HAP anticipates the park, in time, will become a river recreation playground—very possibly this summer. Willie Levenson, founder and Ringleader of HAP, said the grand opening party represents a milestone moment of change for St. Johns, North Portland and the city as a whole.

The HAP has been working on improving the recreational value of Cathedral Park Beach since 2021. That year HAP recruited 100 volunteers to remove 25 tons of concrete and rubble from the beach north of the dock.

In 2022, the group received a federal American Rescue Plan Act grant of $300,000 and successfully leveraged it to negotiate with Portland Parks and other partners to replace the Cathedral Park Dock. The new state-of-the-art dock is now in place. The total cost of the dock is $900,000. It has swim ladders and will be elevated by pontoons to improve water circulation inside the shallow area.

In 2023 HAP recruited hundreds of volunteers and worked with partner organizations to remove another 125 tons of rock, concrete and rubble from the beach south of the dock. The result of the removal is that there is now a new South Beach where residents can stroll and walk their dogs.

HAP is also actively working on getting permits to remove derelict pilings from the beach which they hope to do this September. The nonprofit foresees continuing involvement in upgrading and stewarding the river experience at Cathedral Park. 

Checking out the new dock
Checking out the new dock. Photo by Calico Rose.
View from the new dock
View from of the beach. Photo by Calico Rose.
Kids swimming off the dock
Kids swimming off the dock. Photo by Calico Rose.
Enjoying the beach
Boats and swimmers take to the water. Photo by Calico Rose.
Commissioner Carmen Rubio speaks
Commissioner Carmen Rubio speaks. Photo by Calico Rose.