“We’re open to moving the project forward. We think it’s a neat project and we don’t want to see the project die.”
–Max J. Kuney, Kuney Construction
With City Council unable to reach the required unanimous support for an emergency proposal that would have brought the Sauvie Island Bridge span to NW Flanders Street, all eyes turn to Kuney Construction.
Kuney is the company working with Multnomah County to build a new Sauvie Island Bridge and they are also the owners of the old bridge span. That position gives them a unique expertise in dealing with the bridge and a team already assembled to carry out the requisite work to renovate and install the span in Northwest Portland.
If PDOT and Commissioner Adams are able to pull together a last-ditch effort to save the Sauvie Island Bridge span and re-use it for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge in the Pearl District, Kuney will play a pivotal role.
Aware that Kuney is up against several deadlines, and that their patience with the project might be wearing thin, I called Mr. Kuney to get his vibe on the project.
Kuney confirmed that he was aware City Council’s decision this morning and that he’d already been in touch with PDOT and Commissioner Adams’ office about possible next steps. He also said he would like to work to keep the project alive.
“In general we’re open to moving the project forward. We think it’s a neat project and we don’t want to see the project die. If there’s a willingness for us to help move it to T2 [Terminal 2, the location where work would be done] and then do an RFP [compete in a request for proposals], we’d be happy to do that.”
While Kuney said his company is dealing with several important deadlines with the span, he sounded very amenable to working with PDOT to find a solution.
He said that he couldn’t go into details about specific plans with PDOT at this point, but he feels, “we have a basis for moving forward.”
As for the possibility of a competitive bid process for the installation work, Kuney said he thinks his company would have some clear advantages in winning the bid. He also added that the bridge would only be worth about $35-50,000 as scrap.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who voted “no” on the bridge re-use plan proposal this morning, said he would support the plan if PDOT could purchase the bridge from Kuney and put the project out to a competitive bid process.
In the end, he said, “We don’t get to do something like this everyday, it’s a neat old structure and this is a pretty unique effort… I don’t think you’d see many other cities trying to do this.”
As I told him about the overwhelming support of the re-use plan at City Council this morning (he was reading the public testimony on this site as we spoke), he said he has already received one email from a concerned citizen, urging him to work with PDOT on a solution to save the bridge from the scrap heap.