Inspiring fresh thought and action

Quirky Portland is full of contradictions.  Frankly, among the most fascinating of these is how people in Portland pride themselves on being green and environmentally sensitive – yet not only sit back and do nothing about improving the health of the Willamette River but actually make misinformed jokes about its supposed poor water quality.  

The time has come to realize that the Willamette is our river – it belongs to all of us – and it is time for us to collectively reclaim it. We envision THE BIG FLOAT to become an important catalyst for change. We foresee it being a high watermark event that will improve quality of life for future generations and transform downtown Portland and the inner-eastside.  


Join us in this act of fostering cultural and environmental change by taking part in THE BIG FLOAT. You will be supporting efforts to restore the Willamette River to its former natural beauty – and you’ll have waves of fun in the process!

A salute to the Portland Challenge

Portland Challenge Organizer | Willamette River Lover | Jay Boss Rubin
Portland Challenge Organizer | Willamette River Lover | Jay Boss Rubin

THE BIG FLOAT is following in the wake of an event known as The Portland Challenge, which was last held in 2007. Led by organizer, Jay Boss Rubin, The Portland Challenge was a public non-motorized crossing of the Willamette River that raised money for education projects in Tanzania. 


Many of the elements of The Portland Challenge, such as the inner tube parade lead by a drum core and of course the Willamette River crossing are being kept alive by THE BIG FLOAT.  Jay now lives in New York and makes periodic visits to Portland, we are hoping his schedule will allow him to make a cameo for the event.

"When you can get people into the Willamette River, people intellectually connect with the idea that the Willamette is a river and it has transforming effects." -- Jay Boss Rubin

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