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Bob R.

Brian -

I, too, want a better bridge... but be careful with engaging in needless hyperbole, such as the "McDonald" name-game snark. It can come of as needlessly insulting of a 3rd party who isn't the enemy here.

Stick to the main facts. While it's OK to express anger, don't stray too far from your main goal or your audience.

Brad Cooley

Isn't this type of behavior by Trimet fraudulent?

Brian Libby

Bob, I hear you. If Donald McDonald or people from his firm or reading this, please know that this bridge debate is not about you. If I made a flippant "McDonald's" restaurant joke, it was only an expression of frustration about the process. I do not literally think that Donald McDonald's designs are in any way like fast food.

It's true that my passion for these issues can sometimes run the risk of being a double-edged sword. I'll try to keep my eye on the ball (to mix metaphors).

Brad Cooley

I didn't find the McDonald comment snarky at all. Are designers getting really sensitive these days?

Trimet is right in persuing a pragmatic solution to the bridge design in these difficult economic times but there needs to be more long term vision for what kind of investment we put into our infrastructure at an aesthetic level. A city of bridges should be willing to make an investment in an iconic form that showcases our desired attributes of mass transit friendly design.

I hope the hybrid is truly still on the table and that Mr. McDonald executes it with efficiency and grace so Portland gets a deserving river crossing for the 21st century.

brian w

I hope that if Trimet has truly shown Mr. Rosales the door that the Hybrid design is completely off the table. It's one thing for Trimet to make such a questionable decision (if these fact do indeed prove true), it is quite another for them to shove Mr. Rosales out the door and give his intellectual property to another firm to complete, regardless of who they are. There is no doubt something in the agreement that makes all designs the property of Trimet, but the precedent it sets would have far reaching (and very negative) implications.

For one, no reputable 'world-class' designer would ever look at a design study or competition in this city (for a city agency anyway) for a very long time without considering how Trimet gave one designers work to another firm to complete.

If they are actually still considering the Hybrid version (which I seriously doubt based on the little information I've seen), I hope they find a way to repair the relationship with Mr. Rosales and let him complete what he started.


No offense to Rosales but "Rosales says TriMet never contacted his team for cost info, even though cost was supposedly the reason his design lost". Where did he hear that the reason his design lost was because it was too expensive? When Trimet received the proposals, did all of the reviewers have a scorecard with only one area to rank? Was there just a big box with the heading "least expensive bridge design = winner"?

If you looked over the original rfp, there were a number of criteria for ranking. Instead of second guessing and relying on the sour grapes of Rosales to feed this frenzy of attacking trimet, go take a look at the proposals. Maybe he felt like he had the job and didn't put any effort into the proposal.

And instead of belittling the winner and stirring up animosity before they even begin, let's look at their proposal and see why they were ranked so high.


BW didn't this happen with the Casey Eye bldg on pill hill?
Richard Meier et al

Charlie Burr

I too want to see a strong design, but question your use of images here. Are you saying that without Rosales, the bridge will fall down?

Using images of the I-35 and old Tacoma Narrows bridges strikes me as not particularly credible, and frankly, irresponsible. I think you can make your case on the merits without getting into Daisy territory.


The V-shaped supporting towers of this design...


...combined with its use of less cabling, compared to the Rosales design, would seem to offer users of the bridge a more open feeling, both looking up and to the sides. The apex/middle of the bridge with the V-shape also offers a totally cable free view- great for benches, street musicians, popsicle stands, etc. More sky, less "cage".

It also reminds me a bit of the peace sign we can make with our index and middle fingers.

Here's Rosales' design...


I like the clean elegance of Rosales' design, as well as its homage to previous bridge types (e.g., St. Johns), but I like the more "futuristic" aspect of the V-shape, and its complete departure from all other bridges along the Willamette- like we're turning a new leaf.


There certainly seems to be some across the board confusion about what Trimets intentions with Rosales were in regards his role in the design of the bridge. The quotes of Rosales, used in Libby's article above, seem to suggest Rosales was under the impression there was a good chance he was going to be the designer.

I suppose what many people is wondering, is whether: in inviting him to talk about the bridge design, they implied to him by perhaps not saying otherwise, that he did stand a good chance to be the bridge designer. Then, somewhere thereafter, trimet decided without making their mindset clear, to change directions and go with another designer?

So does that raise the possibility that once the bridge is built, its design will reflect that its designer, if it turns out to be a designer other than Rosales, has borrowed unreasonably from Rosales work and ideas in discussions about the bridge design between Rosales and Trimet? Seems like I remember reading somewhere that Trimet has paid Rosales for work he's done for them. Contracts though...their implications, etc., can be complicated.

Brian Libby

Abel makes a fair point in saying, "Instead of belittling the winner and stirring up animosity before they even begin, let's look at their proposal and see why they were ranked so high."

As I said in a previous comment, it was wrong of me to make fun of or attack Donald MacDonald. To me this post isn't about MacDonald at all.

Where I think we can agree is that TriMet has not done a good job of articulating what they are thinking. It appears to me that they had a good designer and a good design in Rosales that they summarily dumped because of conservative, unsubstantiated cost concerns. If that's not the case, and TriMet's reasoning is more sound than that, I'd be happy to be proven wrong. But I haven't heard anything like that so far.

Charlie Burr also makes a very reasonable criticism of my use of images depicting failing bridges. However, it was a joke, okay? It's absolutely over-the-top to compare TriMet's faulty reasoning to bridge failures, but it was my hope/expectation that people would see the hyperbole as merely a little exaggeration humor.

I agree that the V-shaped bridge could be intriguing, and that's something I haven't yet admitted in my furor over the Rosales-for-MacDonald swap. Again, it's not that MacDonald isn't talented. But I still feel like Rosales got baited and switched.


Please define what you are referring to as a 'cookie cutter' cable stayed bridge. What exactly does that look like? I seem to remember a number of the proposals in PORT's Bridge Design Contest were cable stayed. None of them approached cookie cutter status.
There really is no such thing as an off the shelf bridge, unless you mean a bridge that resembles one that you have already seen before. Even so the chances of it having the same span, clearance, etc. are a bit slim don't you think?
And to be fair the design was not developed to a stage where there needed to be much interaction between the engineer and the estimator. There is a reason that we now build cable stayed bridges rather than suspension bridges: they're cheaper.
So let's get on with influencing a well designed cable stayed bridge because that's what we're getting.


It's too bad that we can't have the bridge alignment lined up such that Mt. Hood would be directly in the "sights" that the V-shape provides. It would be a nice straight-ahead view for those heading east, and add some site specificity.

Someone over at skyscraperpage also noticed the V-shape offers the potential for a smaller footprint in the river.

[name removed - spam]

i think the biggest mistake of rosales, was not to think in the people who going through that bridge, you can't allow yourself to doubt, when you have a thousand of lives in your hand!!!

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