Jumping Barrels remains a favorite illegal pastime


Internet Photo

The Barrels jumping point over the Willamette River

Madeleine Herion, Design/Photography Editor

Volume 71, Issue 1

October 3, 2022

Unless you lived under a rock for the past two years, you know about every Lake Oswego teenager’s favorite summertime activity: jumping Barrels. Barrels is quite literally, a huge wooden barrel, that sits 40 feet above the murky waters of the Willamette River. It is located at Foothills Park in Old Town Lake Oswego. In the warmer months of the year, kids of all ages congregate on the grass lawn at Foothills Park, play Spike Ball, lay out to tan, or walk down the pathway to Barrels to make the jump into the river.

It is a well known fact that jumping from Barrels is illegal. Two summers ago on August 9, 2021 the City of Lake Oswego Instagram posted a photo of the Barrel and the Willamette River with the caption, “We know people are looking for water activities on these HOT days, but jumping into the Willamette River from the dolphins/barrels at Roehr Park is dangerous and illegal.” The city has not changed their stance on the Barrels situation since. Throughout summer 2022 police frequented the area and security cameras were installed that point directly at the railing from which teens jump from.

Despite the risk, people continue to jump from Barrels over and over again. Occasionally, this choice can have serious consequences. On August 2, 2022 a man jumped from the railings next to Barrels, commonly called The Dolphins, and suffered a serious leg injury. According to an interview with Lake Oswego Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk, “The dock that is right there in the river is held on with a metal I-beam that was not showing because it was underwater,” Zoutendijk said. “He hit that with his leg.” The murky waters of the Willamette River can hide dangerous threats such as the beams and cables that stabilize the docks below jumping points. It’s a cautionary tale and one that City officials do not want to see repeated.