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Fine Observation B , I believe we should think outside the box. We are in a special place , a place that values the outdoors and the environment.
A Park-Roofed bridge is low rise AND gives us all a unique place to enjoy the Mighty Columbia.
Please find the latest Blog Coverage below of my Artworks
for a Park-Roofed CRC Bridge.
The vast grass land of the park
will absorb all the rain that drives stormwater pollution , and in doing so greatly reduces the cost of treatment. This savings can largely pay for the park. The working class neighborhoods on both sides of the river need more open space,
and we gain a major unique green-tourist attraction.


Kayla Langos

I believe you have made great points in your argument for a flat bridge.
I've lived in Portland my whole life and have crossed the current bridge countless times.
I believe this design has great potential to be beautiful without being "cluttered". I know that this bridge needs to do lots of things, not just be a bridge over the Columbia from Oregon to Washington for vehicle traffic but also for MAX line, bikers & pedestrians. The designer on this project should be exploring all possibilities for this design to communicate with its given landscape, needs, others opinions & of course sustainability as well. A designer on a project of this scale should cover all of their bases before coming to any one conclusion.
Has any one thought about maybe a designer contest where designers, architects & engineers can submit their designs to a jury per se. Like Mya lynn's Vietnam memorial?
The jury wouldn't even have to pick one design but then their are so many possibilities right in front of you. With those designs on hand taking ideas/concepts from the submissions and create one cohesive design that pleases all sides of the argument raised.

This bridge will not only become a landmark for Washington & Oregon but a beautiful piece of art that not only includes functionality but represents this great NorthWest that we all inhabit.


That may be good and all, to design a beautiful flat bridge, but due to ODOT and FHA's mandates for highway design we end up with a flat bridge AND a completely devastated Hayden Island, a massive pile of spaghetti over Vancouver, and the non-aesthetics of exhaust spewing gridlock moved (not relieved) closer into North Portland and the I-5/405 loop. Ask your architect friends how they feel about the REAL architectural splendor this project will bring outside of the bridge's footprint. Look at the artist renderings again focusing on the approach interchanges and you'll understand that there is no architect on the planet who could make those ramps and passes better considering mandated designs for speed, curves, clearance, and slope.

Your architect friends are architects and are completely blind. No disrespect, but they are only concerned with 'design' of the bridge, not the environmental, human habitat, sociological, financial, and political tragedy that is proposed. Everyone who pushes to have this bridge built should be mandated to live next to it and its interchanges, and see if they change their tune.

Too bad the best alternatives to this project, and the easiest to incorporate good design, were thrown out years ago by political will alone.


At last week's PDXplore event at PNCA, there were concepts for a low bridge that were beautiful - almost looked like a seagull in shape. I believe they were done by Bill Tripp.


That's definitely a good point and a direction we all should be willing to explore, rather than keep pushing for something that may very well be a lost cause. Let's make the best low bridge possible, who knows what we can come up with...it's not like there's a shortage of creative thinkers in the region.

Fred Leeson

Well, folks, the bridge can't be TOO low. Ships have to get under it. That's why the Fremont and St. Johns are up high.

Whatever the design, motorists deserve to know they are crossing one of the major rivers of the world. What bothers me about the Glenn Jackson Bridge is that you can drive across it, especially at night, and NOT know that you are crossing a major waterway. It seems highly disrespectful to me, although it was, no doubt, cheap and efficient to build.

Michael McCulloch AIA

The discussion and eventual design of the bridge needs to go beyond the narrow confines of the current CRC bridge plan. The impacts to the urban environments five miles in each direction are more important than the bridge itself. Because this project is centered between two major cities that will be absorbing another million inhabitants in the near future, shouldn't we be starting with land uses, energy modeling, infrastructure planning to facilitate thoughtful development, long term job creation, etc., rather than focusing on the aesthetics of the bridge?
Our Governors and Mayors should lead the way toward getting the best talent and most comprehensive thinking from around the world to make this the kind of project the Northwest deserves. We are at a time in the project where the engineering is mostly understood and an initial scheme has been proposed. But all good design efforts have many iterations as they move towards implementation. We needn't throw out what we've done so far. But we need to enrich the solution by including more considerations that simply accommodating cars, trucks, light rail, bikes, and pedestrians.

This project could be a symbol of how we think, how we feel, and what we aspire to. As one panelist at the PNCA event last week said "It is about acknowledging the ascending paradigms, not holding onto the descending paradigm." Don't stop this project. Make it better and more inclusive in its range of solutions and in the issues it addresses. Our region is known for its planning and careful visions. Now is the time to seize the opportunity this project rep[resents and move into the 21st century. The international experts who visited and spoke last week all agreed that NOW is the time and that this current design is just a beginning. The eventual design can have all the grace and beauty we deserve and be dramatically less expensive that the current design. Let's aspire to the best design, and not resign ourselves to the paths of least resistance. Good design is always hard work.


I have to admit that I am all for a nice design, but I am so tired of the hearing how much time and money has been spent on this project.
I would suggest building a tunnel, but I believe the cost would be ten fold...
I like the bridge with a park on top.


See through concrete. Get real close to the river.

Jonas JG.

Although the majority of what we call "architecture" relies heavily on aesthtetics, there have been many Architects (and some engineers)that have produced holistic designs for bridges, parks,buildings, etc..
Architects were producing "holistic" designs long before we embraced a holistic approach to our existence/experience. Creating a design that is in harmony/balance with it's environment...it's a culmination of all parts in a specific context, intended to reflect a sense of being and/or belonging.
Ego's aside, that's what we architects are expected to contribute to our surroundings. That being said, some of the best designs of bridges, parks & building have come from a collaboration of Architect & Engineer...although the Engineer is usualy mentioned in a footnote.

Bye Bye Birdie

I agree with your engineer friend Brian, I wish you could have been as poignant and reality based in all your all too many postings over the past year on this subject.

Brian Libby

Bye Bye Birdie,

Thanks for your comment.

As it happens, I only wrote about this subject a couple of times over the past year. Is that "too many"?

Perhaps I should have acquiesced earlier to the idea that this has to be a flat bridge. But I also wouldn't retract my point in previous posts that there should have been a design competition for this bridge. My main point, that this project desperately needs a great designer, hasn't changed.


I think your 'friend' should be the leader that is needed for this project. A great point was made regarding form/function of this particular site. Thanks for this post!

In response to NJD "(architects) are only concerned with 'design' of the bridge, not the environmental, human habitat, sociological, financial, and political tragedy that is proposed." I think I can take that as disrespectful because the practice of architecture is an equal balance of addressing aesthetics as well as ALL the other factors you mentioned. Architecture is not solely concerned about aesthetics. As mentioned in the post, this needs to be collaborative effort to create a solution to all the issues at hand and I hope everyone comes to the table with solutions and not blame.


Thank you archi, but I stand firm in my beliefs that the overall emphasis for the CRC has been the bridge portion of the project and not the overall majority of effected area. The ramps, access and built environments are pushed to the sidelines in architecture discussions where, as you pointed out, are part of an architects job.

I am a small spaces and human environment advocate, and I really feel strongly that the WSDOT/ ODOT approach, which automatically disregarded any alternative outside the narrow and highly policy regulated study area, will leave little room for placemaking outside of the automobile perspective.


I had an earlier port on the absence of consensus on the program for the project. A specific example is Hayden Island.

Hayden and Tomahawk Islands have about 2000 residents in relatively dense townhouses. Though Portland has riverside residential development, none are of this scale, nor with as extensive dock facilities. The Columbia is a richer boating environment too. There is a large trailer park, prefab, if you will, rare in Portland. I have advocated here for the conversion of the hotels to condos or apartments taking advantage of the river.

It also has large big box stores which serve Washington residents seeking to avoid sales taxes. Hayden Meadows and the Airport Way area stores function similarly. It's good for Oregon business.

A good chunk of the Island is undeveloped. owned by the Port of Portland. It's potentially served by rail to the North and South. The CRC would serve it by road. The Columbia is a huge transshipment route for grain from the US and Canadian interior. It would make great business sense for it to be a major port facility when that is needed.

Much of the island is in a floodplain, which has an impact on development and its insurability.

Hayden Island's program is also influenced by the intersection of North-South and East-West roadways, designed originally for low speeds, but now adapted for >50mph ramps. These include N Interstate, MLK 99, Marine Drive and Columbia. Assembling new road and rail rights of way today is impossible. The days of destroying entire neighborhoods, as was the case with I5, are long gone.

No design can be successful until the program is in harmony. It's a challenge, I hope we can equal it. It's not something an architect can resolve.


Looks like there's a bit of an unofficial design competition in the works!


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