A Current Affair
Eleven months and 1,243 miles later, Christopher Swain has become the first person ever to swim the length of the Columbia River. Swain, 35, embarked on his landmark adventure to draw attention to the desperate environmental straits of the river, which is threatened by dams and pollutants. The Portland native endured 10-foot swells, 38-degree water temperatures, close encounters with massive barges, radioactivity from Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and countless other threats to arrive at the river mouth yesterday. En route, he met more than 13,000 people in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington and Oregon, giving presentations on the river and encouraging stewardship and responsible environmental citizenry. “I wanted to put the river in the public eye, and I did,” said Swain.