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Lower Clackamas River, Getting ready

Guiding for Oregon River Experiences

O.R.E.'s Hiring Process

Experienced Guides

Guides with prior experience are encouraged to submit an employment application. Click here to download a PDF version of O.R.E.'s ORE Guide Application Form. Print this form, complete it, then mail, fax or email it to us. You are encouraged to also send a resume when you apply.

O.R.E. will contact selected applicants to arrange for an interview.

Newly-hired guides will be expected to attend a weekend orientation session, which is currently scheduled for May 9 - 10. Even if you have extensive experience as a guide you still may not know the rivers we run, and in any case you almost certainly will not be familiar with the particulars concerning exactly how we run our river trips.

Be aware as well that if your skills are a bit rusty you may be asked to complete additional training after this weekend orientation, in order to bring yourself up to speed.

If you have not yet worked as a guide

Those without prior experience should also begin by submitting an employment application. Click here to download a PDF version of O.R.E.'s River Guide Application Form. Print this form, complete it, then mail, fax or email it to us.

O.R.E. will contact selected applicants to arrange for an interview. Successful applicants will be offered entry into our guide training program.

Guide Training

We offer spots in our training program to those people we believe we want to hire but who do not yet have the necessary river guiding skills.

We cannot know with 100% certainty - based on an application, resume and interview - who will prove to be a good guide. It is during the training process that this becomes clear. This means is that an invitation to train with us is not a guarantee of employment. But keep in mind that if we offer you a spot in the training it is because we sincerely believe you are a good candidate. We wouldn't go to the time and expense to train you otherwise.

Please visit our Guide School page for additional details concerning our training program.

For more information about what to expect if you come to work for us, please continue to read this page.

Working for O.R.E.

How much work will I get, where, and when? There's no simple answer to these questions, because many things affect your chances. But here are a few general guidelines.

Professionally guided rafting trips run when guests buy spots on a company's trips. Government rules and water levels come into play to some extent, but ultimately it is our guests who determine our trip schedule. And because they sometimes make their decisions at the last minute, we often do not know very far in advance when we'll be on the water and how many guides will be needed. Guides - particularly new guides - need to cultivate attitudes of patience and flexibility, and trust that work will come their way.

How much work will you get? If you are brand-new to guiding it often happens that your employment will be closer to part-time than to full-time. This is in part a seniority issue, but also, new guides need to spend considerable time in training - whether to develop skills or to learn new rivers - and this takes time. In some cases even experienced guides who are new to O.R.E. will end up with less work than at their prior company, for similar reasons. So if you absolutely must be 100% certain that you land a full-time work schedule then river guiding is probably not for you, especially if you are new to the profession.

All that said, the guides who get the most work tend to be those who stay in touch with the office and who are usually available, especially on weekends, and even a the last minute.

Where will you get work? Most of our new guides work primarily on our day trips, and most of our day trips are run on the Clackamas River, near Portland. So that is where most of the work opportunities are found. On occasion experienced guides may be offered work on our more distant and longer river trips such as the Rogue in southern Oregon and the Salmon in Idaho, but this is not guaranteed. Brand-new guides should not expect to work the longer river trips in their first year, although they may be offered the opportunity to train on these rivers.

As a new guide to O.R.E. it is not necessary that you live near Portland, but it is helpful. (We're based outside of Estacada, which is east of the Portland metro region.) Living near our headquarters will mean much less driving for you, and will enable you to more readily respond to last minute opportunities for training or work.  O.R.E. does not offer housing for guides.

When will I get work? This can be difficult to predict. Guides who are new to O.R.E. will be working mostly day-trips, and these trips sometimes do not book until as little as two days prior, so that makes it hard for us to tell you when work will come your way.

Our season runs from mid-April through mid-September. But we are busiest during the height of the summer, from approximately mid-June through late August, with mid-July to mid-August generally being the busiest time of all.

Additional Details

  • O.R.E.’s pay scale is based on experience, river, and other factors, but in general ranges from $82 to $165 per day (not including tips).
  • Guides are required to complete a First Aid and CPR course before they can work. Basic First Aid is the minimum requirement. Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder courses are highly recommended, but they are not required.
  • New employees must read our Guide Handbook and sign an employee contract, and must agree in writing that they both understand our company policies and agree to abide my them.
  • Follow this link for a description of the job of being a River Guide, including responsibilities, duties, and job benefits.