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It's nice to see these refinements...i really like the observation points...a nice touch for a structure people will surely want to stop on and check out the structure without feeling like they are impeding traffic. The waterfall could be really amazing if well-done...we'll see...you're right brian, it does give one reason to hope!


This is really good news. I've been looking forward to this project since I first heard about it maybe three years ago. Then they kept tailoring back the design more and more.

With these new designs it gives me something to look forward to again. I think the design shown is one of elegance and simplicity that makes a bold statement for a bridge that is truly one of a kind. The center piece shelter sounds like a great response to the context... rain! I hope they keep moving forward and provide the city with something to truly be proud of.

Thanks for the updates Brian.

Double J

Cable stay bridges can be very elegant and graceful and I hope that is the direction they go. I'm a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright (having grown up in a house designed by one of his pupils)... and MacDonald's bay bridge and A designs have a bit of that exciting but somewhat classic language (how many churches use that vernacular).

One issue I had was the attempt to "soften" this inherently angular bridge type... instead make the towers graceful and as thin/low mass as possible


the observation concepts will not only give a place for pause, but for the pedestrians and close in residents it will give a cause for a destination. I like it, and I like the sketches very much.


I'll have to say...that top illustration looks very promising. Not sure I'd say it's beautiful, but it's not jarring to me like the slingshot 'V' tower's design was. Definitely very interesting, and good looking. Not sure about the waterfall feature. Seems like it might be an expensive to run gimmick.

So, I'm presuming that bike traffic will use the flesh colored lane in the illustration, with pedestrians using the white lane broken by flesh colored bars; wonder how wide those lanes could be. It seems very clever to make the bike/pedestrian lanes veer away from the main bridge roadway in the area of the pylons. This should make an extraordinary sensory experience for people on foot and bike..probably for MAX riders too.

Eric Cantona

sorry to get all PC on your ass WS, but i have to point out that the term "flesh colored" a bit, well, outdated.

a bit more on topic - i'm (mostly) impressed with the basic concepts at work with these new images. the good points being a more sedate tower (the V called far too much attention to itself), cables inside of the peds/bikes, and the notion of a resting/viewing spot. the bad being the curve fighting against the angular in the first image, and the waterfall. i can't see any way that will not come off as gimmicky and worth the added cost. i would prefer to see that money go towards quality materials for the bikers/peds.


any idea if the esplanade will have connections to the bike/ped facilities?

Bob R.

any idea if the esplanade will have connections to the bike/ped facilities?

Yes, connections to greenways on both sides of the river have been stated goals in various bridge presentations. The exact form of these connections hasn't been finalized (ramp placement, width, grade, etc.), as far as I know.


i agree this is an improvement. the new towers are better and the outlooks are nice. not sure if the angle at the approach works so well for a bike. please ditch the waterfall...unless it's serving some sort of real purpose handling stormwater, it will be hokey. and salmon color? yikes. judging by the teal water and salmon accents in the top rendering, not sure if these architects are qualified to be selecting colors...


Love the hand drawings , and the clear expression of Design Thought in them! If the waterfalls had a purpose it would help , and now is the time to put some wind turbines on each tower and call it good.


I'm not convinced. The design seems half worked out to me. The v-shaped bump outs seem like an afterthought added to avoid a conflict with the tower, with all sorts of structural gymnastics to accommodate them. I'm not sure how wide the bike/ped lane is, but it seems like bikes veering around the 'v' will destroy any possible sense of repose of an observation point at that location.

Double J

sut, there are now some images of a rounded belvedere with "sanctuary spots" that I added to the original
PORT post last night
. Besides I doubt the architect would even consider those images to be 1/8th worked out. It's all very preliminary which is why feedback like yours is important... I have similar concerns but that's healthy.


Getting better? This is a horrible design. Somebody should take a moment and review the basic principals of proportion before moving any further. And the waterfall might as well be spewing vomit.


Vomit is very dramatic.

I'm no fan of the waterfall (Brian aptly noted that it risks being absurd and trite) but I'm not opposed to water play.

Several millwheels might power the lights on the bridge while being sculptural and dynamic. They could be playful and splashy without being utterly gratuitous.

I'm a little more jaded about the hand sketching. (shrug) They're nice. They definitely feel more human(e) than the crude computer models we often see at this stage. I think it's no stretch to suggest that the presentation style prejudices our response to the design.


An aside for Eric:

I think it's high time "PC" became an outdated term except in the pejorative.

When one defines some notion as Politically Correct one says that it's not ACTUALLY correct. "PC" notions have been disingenuously parsed so as to not upset the "other people."

Eric Cantona

so when "other people" use terms that are archaic and honky-centric i should refer to them as racist f***wads?

and all this time i thought i was politely pointing out a minor error.

my bad.


Eric...whoops!..never thought of that when trying to think of how to describe the ped/bike paths...'tan' would have worked. Crayola crayons used to have a crayon with the word 'flesh' printed on it that was about that same color as it appears on my monitor. Guess that was a long time ago.

Over at bikeportland.org, a couple of people have expressed that they would have liked to see the bike lane even wider than than 7'...maybe 9', and that in the interest of safety, bike and ped lanes be separate. It's said though, that Trimet wouldn't go for extra width in that area. Maybe getting rid of the waterfall would help to make more budget available for that extra width.


I suppose in this case "who's flesh?" might have been a good middle ground before "racist f*** wad". (shrug) Your call.

And if "other people" (meaning: non-'white', non-male, non-heterosexual) want to appropriate an archaic honky-centrism or two I'm all-for-it.



Richard Potestio

Hello All,

I am shocked by how contrived and poorly composed and proportioned some of the bridge designs have been. I think the first illustration shows some promise, (A Bridge option) but it remains to be seen. I think the Rosales Hybrid design was superior in every way.

Like too much of today's architecture, these current designs suffer from an overt effort to be "interesting" and substitute cleverness for real compositional/functional integrity and logic.

I do not see the need to cant the towers outward, however the slight inward cant does offer the bridge some nuanced lightness and recalls the St. Johns Bridge (not that they intended to do so).

I do not see any reason to project the ped/bike tracks out from the bridge... it will be disconcernting for a bike rider to swing around in this manner, and cause more conflicting/overlapping paths with pedestrians. The ped/bike tracks should be wide enough to allow passage around the towers without constricting flow or inducing accidents or conflicts.

The idea that one needs to pause at the center of the bridge within an enclosed viewing place is extremely trite. The bridge is for crossing, not viewing... and if there is indeed something to look at, hopefully there will be enough space for someone to pause and do so. I think of the Ponte Vechio, in Florence, or the Rialto in Venice, and think about the fact that those bridges are occupied... carry the city fabric over them, and connect to the city fabric in a very integrated way... thus a stopping point at the center of the bridge offers relief, and a chance to view out and note the fact the city is spanning the water... but this is not the case here.... And the idea that a waterfall would eminate from this is just plain silly. I wonder what the ancient Romans, whose magnificent spans transported legions, commerce and of course water, would think if they saw water spilling from the center of a bridge?

One of the consistently overlooked aspects of all the designs are the OCS towers and wires... how will these be incorporated into the design?

I would like to see a design that places the light rail on a lower deck, incorporating the OCS and places the ped/bike tracks on an upper deck like the Brooklyn Bridge.

But ultimately I ask, why can't we just do a very simple, elegant, straightforward and appropriately responsive design, and dispense with the irrelevant add ons and elaborations?

Unfortunately, I think modern archiects have more in common with the additive/decorative sensiblities of the Victorians, than with the logic and rational approach of the early modernists.


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