Historic Bridges of Bridgetown

Here’s a look at some of the finest bridges in the Portland area, written by Oregon Heritage in 2012. Some interesting info for you with some links on the city’s historic bridges.

Oregon Heritage Exchange

By George Kramer

Portland’s Willamette River bridges are world-class. From the soon-to-be replaced Sellwood to the graceful St. Johns, ten major spans in 10.7 river miles include examples of multiple bridge technologies. Many are the oldest or longest examples of type ever built.

C.1927 postcard showing five bridges over the Willamette in Portland.

Portland’s first Willamette bridge, the Morrison, was completed in 1887 and was key in knitting Portland, East Portland and Albina into the modern city four years later. Those early, mostly wooden, swing spans relied upon a pivot point in the middle of the river channel. The slow process of opening, turning the center span 90-degrees to allow river traffic to pass, was problematic as the Port traffic grew. Portland’s leadership turned to a radical new technology, the vertical lift bridge. A vertical lift has one long span that rises to create a single open channel; much…

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