The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Sellwood Bridge advisory group set to narrow choices

Posted by on September 28th, 2007 at 10:29 am

Sellwood Bridge Tour with Richard M.-8

(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

Next week, the Policy Advisory Group for the Sellwood Bridge Project will meet to choose up to four bridge designs to consider for further study.

The four designs will then go through an environmental review and a “preferred alternative” will be chosen by Spring 2008.

According to Citizen’s Task Force (CTF) member Richard Marantz, “this advisory group will use previous public input, (the 19-member) Citizen’s Task Force recommendations (which you can see below) and their own political and policy judgements to arrive at selections for study.”

Sellwood Bridge Tour with Richard M.-6

Richard Marantz navigates the
narrow bridge sidewalk.

Marantz adds that, “If people are interested in the bridge, and want to provide last minute input, or want to see the actual decision makers in action, it would be a good meeting to attend.”

The Policy Advisory Group is made up of an impressive list of heavy-hitters from the local, regional, and national level.

Below are the four alternatives being recommended by the Citizen’s Task Force (download their full recommendations report here). As you look at these possible roadway configurations, remember that any of the roadway designs selected for study can be placed with any of the alignments (where the bridge and ramps go) in a hybrid bridge at the end of the process. Marantz says that’s why the CTF recommended a wide range of alternatives, “so that the maximum number of alternatives would be under evaluation.”

The meeting — which will include time for public comment — will be held from 2-5pm at the Multnomah County Building boardroom (501 SE Hawthorne Blvd) on Monday, October 1st.

For more information and background on the Sellwood Bridge Project, view my post from last month, and check out

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • a.O September 28, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for the update, Jonathan. The critical issue now is not the layout of uses on the bridge — though I urge people to keep telling these folks that we want as wide a lane for bikes as possible.

    The real point of contention now is the alignment of the bridge itself. A selfish group of condo owners in Sellwood are advocating an alignment that saves their fungible housing units at the expense of our Sellwood Riverfront Park.

    This is particularly hypocritical since these people bought condos under a bridge that any fool can see would need replacement. Now they want it taken out without impact to them and the community to lose a great asset in its park. Please tell the decision-makers that community green space is more important than riverfront condos. And remember, the owners of these condos don\’t just get thrown out on the street – they get market value for their homes. And there are plenty more condos for sale in Portland and Sellwood in particular.

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  • Jeff September 28, 2007 at 11:35 am

    a.O, have you ever owned property? If you had, you wouldn\’t be talking all that smack, quite frankly. Property is one of the most sensitive issues we face and people take it very personally. Those owners wouldn\’t get fair market value, they\’d get what the city or county tax assessor says their property is worth, which is WAY less that what the market will pay for it. Every time I receive the tax bill, I\’m astounded by the discrepancy… Some of those people may have just purchased in the last few years and would take a substantial loss.

    I also take issue with your claim that they all must have known the bridge would need replacement. Lots of old and historic looking bridges are conserved. Why would it have been unreasonable that at least some of them thought the bridge would be there for a long time and just be restored? Not everyone follows the issues as closely as you.

    Plus, there\’s plenty of green and public spaces down there. There\’s the Oaks Bottom area, the park on the bluff (name escapes me now), and the Springwater trail…

    The issues are formidable and the process has been very open….

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  • a.O September 28, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Yes, Jeff, I have owned and do currently own property.

    Your assertion that owners whose property is taken by a governmental agency \”get what the city or county tax assessor says their property is worth\” demonstrates your ignorance of the legal process involved. Disputes over the value of property involved in a taking can and frequenly are appealed all the way up to the US Supreme Court. Your assertion that a county tax assessor has the last word on the value of property is laughable.

    No one whose condo is taken will \”take a substantial loss.\” That\’s just right-wing fear-mongering borne of ignorance of the nature of the legal process and of the nature of private property rights. You don\’t fool me and you don\’t fool anyone who is paying attention. Simply put, you are wrong.

    As far as the bridge needing replacement, if they don\’t pay close attention to the surroundings of the property they buy, whose fault is that? Are you some kind of communist who wants to make the rest of us pay for the stupidity of private parties?

    Your assertion regarding the abundence of green spaces is completely circular and demonstrates the inherent hypocrisy of your argument. If they keep building bridges and condos through the green spaces, they won\’t be there. We need to preserve these spaces. We don\’t need to preserve condos that can be built or re-built anywhere.

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  • Jeff September 28, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    a.O, you live in strange and embattled world.

    Property has been taken in the past by governments and people have gotten screwed on the valuations. Just remember it can happen anywhere. And not everyone has the legal means to fight it through the courts. That\’s not a path anyone wants to follow. It\’s a mess best avoided if possible, instead of just \”tearing them down\”.

    I also take offense to your implications that I\’m both right-wing and a communist of which I am neither. Pragmatist yes. And probably something closer to left-wing atheist libertarian, but I won\’t be subscribing to any organizations any time soon and that\’s not really the point here, is it?

    Indeed YOU are the bully with YOUR fear mongering, inability to take a little criticism, and desire to dictate policy that everyone should swallow. Anyone who reads your arguments can clearly see that. I now see that you are perhaps the right-wing communist dictator here. Sad really, but that\’s your right.

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  • a.O September 28, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Jeff, I live in *Sellwood.* And like the rest of Sellwood, I\’m going to fight for my park.

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  • DK September 28, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    The condo owners should be happy with what they get. It is usually a fair price, and it usually starts as an offer to which the owners can counter with facts to back up that number… like appraisals and comparable sales activity in Sellwood. Add to that the day when the bridge repair/construction is complete, the trucks and traffic will be back at full steam, not a great place for a condo!

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  • D Rock September 28, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Holy cow a.O. I guess I\’m a communist to since I would disapprove of the city taking over and tearing down my house. I know these things happen but geeze you can\’t blame the people living there for not being particularly happy about the matter.

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  • bahueh September 28, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    I think anyone who doesn\’t really want to preserve Sellwood Park may be a communist…

    I\”m sure if the bridge was over a.o.\’s house, his tune would be different…

    now can I get the last 30 seconds of my life back for reading such argumentative blather?

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  • Logan 5 September 28, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    A.0, you are the most hypocritical person I have ever heard of. You insult the \”idiots\” who built their home near a bridge in obvious need of repair but you\’re the one who was whining about \”uncaring\” car drivers who go through your neighborhood? Yikes, only an idiot couldn\’t see that Sellwood was an up and coming neighborhood and that traffic was going to increase. The current rate is here to stay by the way. Apparently, you (and most others here) still haven\’t figured out why cars are so important and irreplaceable to people.

    Of course, we also have your complaining about \”adulterating\” (what kind of dork talks like that?) your handle and then straight out doing it right back to somebody else. Another example of hypocrisy and ignorance.

    Communist? Huh?

    By the way, how\’s the bike-only bridge idea coming along? I guess all the productive citizen who use the bridge didn\’t like being called \”uncaring\” simply because they don\’t have enough time or ability to screw around with a bike like you all day. More ignorance of what real people want and need.

    Don\’t bother answering (unless you\’re looking for cheese points with your fan base if you have one). I know you\’ll come up with some lengthy tirade generously sprinkled with redundant, protracted words that only snobs use to make up for lack of true intelligence and understanding. I, for one, won\’t be listening.

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  • EcoDave September 28, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    So what are the relative cost comparisons of the different designs? Is that an issue at this stage or is money of no matter to the planners?

    From a publishing standpoint, the scale of the figures is showing significance/ inferiority in the various designs. It is not too much of a matter other than people believing that the larger may be the more preferred plan.

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  • a.O September 28, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Logan 5, your hate demeans you.

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  • Matthew September 28, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Assessed value is always less than your property is worth on the open market. The assessed value can only go up by 3%/year, as per Measure 47 (1996,) and most people\’s real values rise faster than that. The only thing the assessed value is used for is to determine how much taxes you pay, it doesn\’t do anything else, in particular it doesn\’t determine how much the government will pay you if they condemn your property. To give you an idea of how big a difference there is, my house is worth ~$250k or so on the open market, but my assessed value is $33k. (So even if my house stayed the same price forever, it would be almost 70 years before my assessed value caught up to my real value… There is a very good chance that my house will fall/burn/be bulldozed down before the assessed value comes close to the real one.)

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  • Michelle September 29, 2007 at 9:06 am

    What would that path underneath be like? Anyone seen anything comparable in other towns?

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  • Javen September 30, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Figure 4 seems like the best bet. Bikes should be treated as first class citizens and not have to weave between slow pedestrians. The best solution is to sort bikes out from pedestrians.

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  • Joe September 30, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    How do the different alignments interface with existing trails/ bike routes in the area?

    It\’s silly and selfish to reroute a bridge just for the sake of a handful of condos.

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  • Richard September 30, 2007 at 8:57 pm


    The alignments are basically the same on east side where they all take off from about 6th and Tacoma. Good connections to bikeways on Spokane or Umatilla, and the Springwater Trail will be easy to achieve. The one alignment which skirts north of the condos starts at the same place as the others.

    One key detail of the east side is still undecided, and that is whether there will be a light at 6th or 7th and an eastbound left turn lane to the north, or if there will be eastbound right turn lane and some sort of loop around under the bridge at Grand. Getting traffic to and from Oaks Park and Sellwood Riverfront Park is an important issue.

    On the west side, regardless of the location of the intersection, the plan is for a direct roadway connection from the intersection to Riverview Cemetery. North/South traffic on Hwy 43 is proposed to go underneath the new intersection, so access to and from 43 will involve the on/off ramps from the highway to the intersection. Access to the Willamette greenway trail, or Powers Marine Park is planned.

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  • a.O September 30, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    All of the alignments except one or two use the existing bridge location and thus would only take a few condos on either side due to widening and could be relatively easily connected to the Springwater Corridor Trail. The teal saves the precious condos and destroys an entire city park with river access and would also require extensive re-working to the Springwater. So basically it\’s public subsidy of private property.

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  • Ernest Csuka October 2, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Will they please 1.)Not add motor vehicle traffic lanes, as neither Macadam Ave. nor the Sellwood neighborhood can handle any increase in traffic volume and 2.)Please quit studying shit and just replace the damned thing before it falls into the river!? The process is the problem!

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  • a.O October 2, 2007 at 10:00 am

    Ha, ha. No, they won\’t quit studying and just replace it. The process is mandated by Federal law. Ironically, not following this process is perhaps the only thing that would have a realistic chance of stopping the replacement!

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