Sauvie Island bridge might still end up in the Pearl

It’s been over a year since I reported on the status of an idea to re-purpose the Sauvie Island Bridge as a super-sized bicycle and pedestrian crossing over the 405 freeway at Flanders Boulevard looking East.


Artists rendition of Sauvie span on Flanders.
(Graphic origin unknown)

Given the price tag and the logistical hurdles of the project, I figured the exciting idea was all but dead. But according to an article by Andy Giegerich in the Portland Business Journal (subscription req’d for full article) the project just might see the light of day.

Here’s an excerpt from the Biz Journal article:

“The Pearl District Neighborhood Association’s planning committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to support creating private funding sources for the project, from both neighbors and businesses, as well as exploring whether the district’s urban renewal funds could help defray some of the project’s $5 million price tag…

Neighbors like the idea so much that they’re volunteering to help pay a big chunk of the estimated $2.5 million cost difference between moving the bridge’s arched center truss to the Pearl and building a new one.”

The Biz Journal article also spurred a story on KGW-TV last night that said the project is “picking up steam” and they gave more clues to the funding picture:

“The Pearl District Neighborhood Association will use tax incremental funding and help from the Portland Development Commission to foot the bill for some of the the extra cost. The rest will come from private donors.”

Commissioner Adams has made it clear he will not use PDOT funds for this project so private sector fundraising is a must.

Using the Sauvie span will give bikes and peds a much better crossing than a new bridge. The existing Sauvie span is 40 feet wide while a new bridge would be just 12 feet wide.

This historic bridge would also be a shot in the arm to the planned Flanders bike boulevard (which was negotiated years ago as part of a compromise on the Burnside/Couch Couplet project).

According to KGW, it will be another six months before any decision is made and at least a year before the old Sauvie Island bridge is ready to move to downtown Portland.

[Pick up a copy of the current issue of the Portland Business Journal to read the full story.]

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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16 years ago

(subscription req’d for full article)


16 years ago

How about leaving the old bridge where it is and using it as a bike/pedestrian bridge?
Then parking for people biking around the island, and those taking Tri-met downtown could be off the island on the Highway 30 side of Sauvie Island.