Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 1st, 2008 at 10:42 am
Tomorrow, Portland City Council will decide whether or not the City will re-use the Sauvie Island Bridge span for a bicycle and pedestrian-only crossing of I-405 at Northwest Flanders street.
The owner of the span, Kuney Construction, is currently under contract with ODOT to demolish the bridge. Therefore, if PDOT wants to continue their effort to relocate the bridge to Northwest Portland, they must enter into a contract with Kuney immediately. Due to these time constraints, Commissioner Sam Adams has put forth an emergency declaration which must have the support of four out of five Commissioners in order to pass (usually only three votes are required).
Tomorrow’s vote will decide whether the old Sauvie Span heads to downtown Portland or to the scrap heap.
(Graphic origin unknown)
Commissioner Adams has worked to bring the Sauvie Span to Flanders Street all along, and word from City Hall is that he has support from Commissioners Sten and Leonard. Leonard’s chief of staff Ty Kovatch told me this morning that Leonard is, “very supportive of the idea,” and that they’ve, “even worked with Adams on helping to bridge the funding gap that exists.”
Commissioner Saltzman is undecided and is likely to make his decision at the Council meeting. Mayor Potter won’t attend Wednesday’s vote but has garnered headlines with his opposition to the idea.
Today’s Oregonian reports that Potter sent a “sharply worded memo” to Adams and the other Commissioners voicing his opposition to the idea.
Potter questions the wisdom of spending city funds on the new bridge when there are already two crossings — on Everett and Glisan Streets — just one block away. Unfortunately however, neither of those bridges are adequately safe for bike traffic.
Re-using the Sauvie span will cost $1.5 million more than building a new one, but it would also be twice as wide and could become an iconic structure symbolizing Portland’s commitment to sustainability, walking and biking.
The width of the Sauvie span would also be able to accommodate the growing amount of bike traffic expected on Flanders as it morphs into a full-fledged bicycle boulevard in the coming years.
Funds for the recycled bridge plan would come from several pots including the City of Portland Office of Transportation, the River District urban renewal area program, transportation system development charges, and from the federal government.
The recycled bridge plan has much support from local businesses and neighborhood advocates in Northwest Portland. They’ve already started fundraising to come up with the $500,000 (out of $5.5 million total) that must be raised by private donations.
If you support bringing the Sauvie Island Bridge to the Pearl District, attend the City Council meeting tomorrow.
Portland City Council Meeting
City Hall (1221 SW Fourth Avenue)
Wednesday (4/2), 9:30 AM
Read more about Potters memo and the political backstory of his opposition to the plan in the Oregonian.