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SANDY, Ore. By mid-afternoon Saturday local waterways like the Sandy River were packed with hordes of people trying to beat the heat.

Located between the Columbia River Gorge and the Portland Metro area, the Sandy attracts huge summer crowds, especially as the temperatures near triple digits.

Glen Otto park is one of two Sandy River parks with lifeguards on duty. They loan life jackets to kids and monitor some of the trickier spots on the river.

What we basically try to tell people is that the water is still moving pretty quickly, said Carly Shears of AMR River Rescue. There are also areas on this river where it drops off pretty quickly.

We ve got life guards, we ve got a sandy beach and the water s nice, said Dakota Leon, who spent his Saturday at Glen Otto. We know there s not going to be too much glass, there s not going to be too much pollution, and it s a safe environment.

With big crowds expected all weekend, AMR scheduled an extra technician to patrol the river, just in case.

It s a balancing act: With cool water come inherent risks, but people on the Sandy say it s worth it.

Authorities remind visitors on the waterways that it s always best to wear a life jacket, and it s important to stay hydrated.

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KGWReporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report

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