Visitor Urges Chicago To Stop Dyeing The River Green For St. Patrick’s Day

(CBS) — A man from Portland, Oregon was able to check “visiting Chicago” off his bucket list this past weekend, but a certain St. Patrick’s Day tradition left a sour taste in his mouth.

It certainly wasn’t from the ribs or deep dish pizza that Willie Levenson enjoyed.

“I was somehow not aware that Chicago dyes the river green.”

While he admits it looked pretty cool, the site prompted Levenson to write a letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, calling it “an annual humiliation of a river.”

“It’s like parading the Chicago River out in a dress,” Levenson said. “It’s just another way to shame it.”

Levenson, who works with the Human Access Project, a not-for-profit organization that works to improve conditions in the Willamette River in Oregon, said the tradition can take visibility away from the river’s fish and other animals for nearly 24 hours.

He doesn’t want to seem like “The Grinch Who Stole St. Patrick’s Day”, but he said it may be time to throw the tradition out.

“There’s much more creative ways to celebrate on a river than dyeing it green” Levenson said. “That’s the lazy way.”

WBBM has reached out to Plumbers’ Local 130, which oversees the dyeing of the river each year, for comment.

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