« Architect Magazine lists SERA Architects as nation's #3 green architecture firm, ZGF as #7 firm overall | Main | David Cook and redefining sustainability »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mara Gross

Brian, thanks for this great story.

Additional evidence that the DOTs want to rubber stamp the project without real input: They just announced a public hearing on Wednesday to provide input to the panel (7pm in Hall D of the Portland Expo Center).

This meeting has been scheduled for over a month, but they give the public two days' notice of the hearing and bury the news in an e-newsletter.


I get the frustration over the proposed design of this bridge. I think it sucks, too. However, Patty Murray and Peter DeFazio have both recently stated that unless the locals get their collective acts together on this project, the federal funding window will close and we will likely be stuck with the very bridge we have now for many more years to come.

Recently, a study was released that hit the news identifying the worst traffic choke points in Oregon and this bridge was number one on the list. It is frequently regarded as the largest choke point on the I-5 corridor from Mexico to Canada. Something needs to be done.

Moreover, there is a real dearth of construction jobs in this area right now. A project of this magnitude would employ thousands for years at living wage jobs.

So, I agree that it would be nice to get a better design. I do not agree that the project should be killed because of objections to the design.

Moreover, I think it's somewhat disingenuous of the protesters to suggest the process was devoid of public input. For example, a 39-member Task Force met 23 times to advise the project on evaluation criteria, development of alternatives and one Locally Preferred Alternative. The group included leaders from Oregon and Washington's business, civic, neighborhood, freight, commuter and environmental agencies and groups. There are other examples as well.

This project has been studied for years. The time to object to its design has really come and gone. What the protesters are really after is a do-over, which isn't going to happen. What the protesters will likely get is a dead project.


While I have never gotten input from local CRC players on my proposal to place a Park Roof on the CRC Bridge , Mr. Warne responded promptly and positively. He offered to put the Design into the official mix. I presume he would do the same for other serious designs and concepts. Give them a chance without screaming at them.

He [and the new committee] seems like the kind of serious professionals the project has always needed.



We're treating the CRC as a slab of highway instead of a prominent gateway bridge.

Can someone explain to me why we need a "prominent gateway bridge?" Or for that matter, why the slab-of-highway Glenn Jackson Bridge is so horrible?

I was thinking about this very issue last weekend as I drove south over the Glenn Jackson. I turned to my left and saw a "prominent gateway" immeasurably superior to anything that could ever be built. In fact, I was glad there were no unnecessary bridge components to obstruct the view.


A few other pages with info about some of the alternative ideas that have been proposed that are more appropriately scaled, deal with the problem of congestion without adding capacity, and would be much more affordable:




Ugh. What a mess for so many darn reasons. While I agree with many of you that the bridge could and should be a wonderful iconic gateway, I am also troubled by the Johnny-come-lately approach to much of the opposition to the current project/process. I am concerned that so many people have only now grown concerned. The time for that would have been a couple of years ago. We cannot and should not let this opportunity pass us by when there are so many jobs at stake, for in Oregon, we will likely not see a real economic recovery for a few more years without this bridge being built.

As an architect, I feel like this whole thing sucks. I wish I personally would have taken up the cause when some change could have reasonably been made. Now, I just want the jobs to help our economy.


While I agree with many of you that the bridge could and should be a wonderful iconic gateway,


None of the links you provided propose anything that would be considered iconic. Iconic toll plazas? An iconic arterial bridge from the Delta Park Lowes to the Jantzen Beach Home Depot?

Not that I think tolls or an arterial bridge are bad ideas - I don't. But Mt. Hood and the Cascades is your wonderful iconic gateway - nothing we build is going to change that.


Sorry Mudd - you didn't provide those links. But you get the idea.


GLV - Pretty much everyone knows that this project and the process associated with it could be much better had real leadership and local engagement been there from the beginning. Your assertions otherwise are absurd and show that you haven't really been paying attention and likely still aren't. For my part, I wish I would have been more engaged earlier on, when change could have been easy to deal with...so, shame on me, I guess.

Ultimately, we should do our best to work with the current process to find a way to get the best solution. Re-designing the process at this point would be catastrophic to the project funding and would be a major disservice to our eventual economic recovery for the region.

Sean Casey

How about retrofitting the existing bridge?



Just make I205 the new I5 and add a lane to the NEW I-5 to the Glen Jackson bridge. Either retro fit the existing bridge or build new with 6 lanes total, with Max and local freight connections.

The entire process was a joke with the game rigged to make it so engineers HAD to just build a giant bridge. It was designed as a real estate grab for clark County and marketed as a freight solution. Time to kill it.


"Can someone explain to me why we need a "prominent gateway bridge?" Or for that matter, why the slab-of-highway Glenn Jackson Bridge is so horrible?"

I'll second that comment. We need a bridge that unblocks the current choke point and has room for light rail. Who cares if it isn't pretty enough? Talk about misplaced priorities.

If you have a few billion dollars to donate into the project in order to have an "Iconic Gateway", then by all means go for it. Otherwise, focus on the actual needs of the project at hand.

Iconic gateway? My god... talk about misplaced priorities.


Well, that is why this country is going to hell. Nobody listens to the visionaries anymore. Everything is on the cheap and quick. Our best days are behind us.

This could have been a regional or national landmark that could have solved the problems and been also affordable but the lack of design or leadership has provided none of that. Good design COULD have done those things and given us all a sense of pride.

eric cantona

"Iconic gateway? My god... talk about misplaced priorities."

how would you respond to this notion if it didn't have to add any appreciable cost?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Lead Sponsors


Portland Architecture on Facebook

More writing from Brian Libby


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

Paperblogs Network

Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics

Awards & Honors