Portland is a city divided by a river, and united by bridges. Because the Willamette River divides our city neatly into East and West, and because there are wonderful places to visit on each side, a Portlander spends a lot of time traveling these bridges by foot, by bicycle, and by car. You learn each bridge by heart; how to get on it, how not to get on it, where it will take you, and the particular challenges of crossing it.
If you’re driving, the grids of the Hawthorne pull your car from side to side until you learn the trick of speeding up, rather than slowing down. The soaring upper deck of the Marquam, with its spectacular views of downtown, isn’t a place to sightsee, thanks to its hectic lane merges. The lower deck offers the most beautiful views of Waterfront Park in the city, especially during the Rose Festival. Whether or not you like to go to the Fun Center, you can’t help but be charmed by the lights of this huge carnival as you head west.
The Gothic splendor of the St. John’s Bridge, designed by famed engineer and polymath David B. Steinman, is the most majestic of Portland’s bridges. But the dramatic arches of the Fremont Bridge certainly give it a run, as far as dramatic beauty. At the other end of the Willamette River’s path through Portland, the Sellwood Bridge, rebuilt in 2016, was always Portland’s most controversial bridge. It was built in a hurry in 1925, and eventually deemed unsafe for bus and truck traffic. The new Sellwood bridge is broader, safer, and friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists.
Fun fact: The twelve bridges that span the Willamette are all different types of bridge. You can read the full list–and learn about their construction–on Wikipedia: Portland Bridges
2021 is a perfect year to celebrate building bridges, isn’t it? Here is Pendleton’s beautiful new “Bridge City” blanket, available now at pendleton-usa.com.
A dozen bridges span the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Each bridge is a different type of bridge. The oldest, the Hawthorne Bridge, is the oldest vertical-lift bridge operating in the USA. The newest, Tilikum Crossing, is named for Native Americans who have always lived along the Willamette. In this breathtaking new blanket, a sunrise behind Mt. Hood lights the St. Johns Bridge (suspension), the Fremont Bridge (tied-arch), and the Steel Bridge (lift-span) as they work with nine others to join the Portland’s east and west sides.Above them rises Mt. Hood, a silent, sleeping volcano that keeps watch over “Bridge City.”
See more information: Bridge City
Read more about Tilikum Crossing: Portland’s Newest Bridge