Press conference will address bridge safety concerns

Sellwood Bridge
(File photo)

Everyone is talking about the collapsed bridge in Minnesota. When I heard the news, my first thought was of the aging and deteriorating condition of the Sellwood Bridge. Apparently I wasn’t the only one.

The Multnomah County public affairs office has just announced a news conference at 2:00 pm today in Sellwood Riverfront Park that will address safety concerns. County Chair Ted Wheeler is slated to talk and answer questions at the event.

The official press release says,

“Chair Wheeler will discuss measures the county takes to ensure its bridges are safe for the public as well as steps the county is taking to improve bridge safety in the future. Chair Wheeler will also discuss funding challenges for maintaining the county’s aging collection of bridges.”

The park is located adjacent to the bridge on the east side of the river. For more information contact Michael Pullen at (503) 209-4111.

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

I\’m selfish…and it\’d be sweet justice: Bike/ped only! Bike/ped only! Bike/ped only! Bike/ped only!

erin g.
erin g.
16 years ago

Even as a Sellwood resident, I have long avoided the Sellwood Bridge as much as possible, ever since they stopped running what was our commuter bus (the #40) over it due to safety/structural concerns and the ramifications of vibrations caused by heavier vehicles. While on my bike heading home on the Springwater Corridor, I’ve often gazed up at the Sellwood Bridge, skeptical of the fact that it’s perpetually loaded with back-to-back cars, despite its questionable soundness. I am eager to hear the outcome of today’s press conference, as I hope that all steps necessary are taken to protect the safety of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on that bridge, even if it means closing it down and causing huge traffic slow-downs for car commuters. It would be a great opportunity to convince even more people to commute by bike! In the meantime, let’s continue to collectively send our thoughts to the people of Minnesota as they navigate this terrible tragedy.

Thank you for immediately posting this important news update, Jonathan.

16 years ago

U.S. infrastructure is crumbling.

Guns or butter? Which do you think is currently winning out?

Garlynn --

After reading that the Sellwood Bridge only scores a 3 on a scale of 1 to 100, with any score under 50 necessitating replacement…

I say close it to motorized traffic tomorrow. Make it bike/ped only.

And run a car (or at least a bus) ferry across until a new bridge can be built.

The car ferry would be inconvenient, but it would allow those folks who must cross there to do so, which encouraging all others to find an alternate route (or ride their bike).

16 years ago

Anybody know the results of the press conference?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
16 years ago


I wasn\’t there, but I got this from Mult. County:

Statement from Commissioner Rojo de Steffey regarding Minneapolis bridge

Today, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families and
friends of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. It is my understanding
the governor of Minnesota has ordered a full scale investigation of all
Minnesota bridges with a similar design.

I will continue to work closely with Chair Wheeler and our
transportation department to take the appropriate steps and ensure the
county\’s bridges are safe. The Sellwood Bridge will continue to be
monitored for safety.

As the Sauvie Island Bridge nears completion, I will continue the effort
to secure adequate funding to insure required safety measures and
seismic infrastructure are part of the construction. The Sellwood
Bridge is currently in the midst of a two year study to determine the
best alternative to meet the community\’s short and long term needs.

Bridges not only link community and commerce for our county, they are a
valuable part of the regional economic and transportation
infrastructure. Adequate federal and state funds are necessary to keep
our community bridges safe and maintained properly.