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Press conference will address bridge safety concerns

Posted by on August 2nd, 2007 at 11:15 am

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.

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  • Carl August 2, 2007 at 11:26 am

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

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  • erin g. August 2, 2007 at 11:54 am

    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.

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  • Murray August 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    U.S. infrastructure is crumbling.

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

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  • Garlynn -- undergroundscience.blogspot.com August 2, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    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).

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  • nate August 3, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Anybody know the results of the press conference?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 3, 2007 at 7:56 am


    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.

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