BTA, activists work to save Sauvie span

“We intend to demonstrate to elected officials that there’s huge support for re-using the Sauvie span.”
–the BTA’s Karl Rohde

While City Hall tries to work out its differences on the effort to move the old Sauvie Island Bridge span to NW Flanders street, bike advocates and citizen activists are moving forward in a push to raise awareness and support for the project.

So far, the effort is being led in part by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The BTA is reaching out to a myriad of local organizations and to neighborhood and business associations in Northwest Portland for support.

Karl Rohde, the BTA’s Government and Public Affairs Director says they hope to build a base of bridge re-use supporters. “We’re building a coalition and getting support from the neighborhood, and the environmental and business communities, to push City Hall to make this project happen.”

Riding on the Sauvie Island Bridge span.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Rohde adds that, “We intend to demonstrate to elected officials that there’s huge support for re-using the Sauvie span.”

Rohde says much of his work will be to “make sure everyone understands the details of the project.” He says that, “Because of media coverage and statements from the Mayor’s office, there’s been a misunderstanding of the funding.”

Rohde is referring to comments made by Mayor Potter that, instead of funding this project, the City should spend the money on sidewalks. According to Rohde, that comment ignored the fact the money lined up for this project (before it was derailed by Potter and Commissioner Saltzman last week) would have been dedicated solely for this project, and would not be transferable to other projects.

The estimated $5.5 million for the re-use plan would have come from a mix of sources including Portland Development Commission Urban Renewal Funds ($2 million), transportation system development charges ($2 million), a federal grant through ODOT ($1 million) and private fundraising efforts ($500,000).

The BTA offers more analysis of the funding picture and Mayor Potter’s position on their blog.

Elly Blue — a BikePortland contributor and citizen activist who help rally the community after two fatal (and one serious-injury) bike crashes over the span of a few weeks last winter — is planning an event to bring attention to the need for a safe crossing of I-405 at NW Flanders.

Blue says she plans to fill the bridges at Everett and Glisan with people, legally using the roadway. “It won’t be a group ride or a protest march, we’ll just fill the area, with everyone following the rules of the road. That should be more than enough to demonstrate that these crossings are not safe for all road users and that they pose a huge danger and barrier for many people.”

Blue and others plan to ride and walk around the proposed site of the bridge (NW Flanders Blvd.) this evening to prepare for the event which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 17th at 5:30pm.

Stay tuned for updates and more coverage of the Sauvie Island Bridge span saga.

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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

Count me in!

bahueh
bahueh
15 years ago

I just can\’t support this…the bridge is ugly…its old…and there are cheaper alternatives.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
15 years ago

\”the bridge is ugly…its old…and there are cheaper alternatives.\”

Hi bahueh,

do you know of any cheaper alternatives that are 30 feet wide and would be installed and ready to use by this December? just curious.

wsbob
wsbob
15 years ago

On one of the other related threads, someone pointed out the I-5 beltline bike/pedestrian bridge in Eugene as a possible lower cost option, modern, interesting option(as angled supporting rods sort of like a Calatrava design).

2.5 mil for that span, though the comparison is very vague since specs for that bridge don\’t seem to be readily available, and costs for our Flanders/I-405 location may be considerably different. Hard to know exactly what the costs for a bridge like that would be for Flanders/I-405. Company named OBEC is the contractor. I\’d be happy with either if the design was good and the price was right.

When and if the Sauvie Island span is located at Flanders, it will be like brand spankin new; cleaned, painted, like something right out of a Hollywood movie, just like the Hawthorne after it was refurbished. No doubt some people will still think it\’s ugly, but I\’ll bet many, many more will love it.

jonno
jonno
15 years ago

I\’m in! I\’ll be there with boots on.

We need a new bridge over the scar of 405. Think about it: from Burnside to Johnson there\’s no way for a bike or pedestrian to get over the freeway without crossing a freeway on-ramp! Davis, Everett, Glisan, all grossly subpar for what should be the city\’s premiere walkable district.

ralph
ralph
15 years ago

So let me get this right.

There\’s $4m currently available in funding.

If we go with the $3m option, the worst case scenario is it goes over budget and eats the whole $4m. Best case scenario there\’s money left over for more infrastructure changes.

If we go with reusing the current bridge we are $1.5m short of full funding, right off the bat. Worst case scenario, it goes over budget and we don\’t have the money. Best case scenario, we still have to find the $1.5m to meet the budget.

If I ran my household budget in this way I\’d have a notice of foreclosure nailed to my front door.

The same people advocating the overpriced option are the same people that are complaining that the new I-5 project is a waste of taxpayers money.

Well I look at the re-use option a waste of taxpayer money. Give me a 15ft wide bridge and hopefully another $1m worth of filled potholes, bike lanes and bike boxes. Don\’t give me an underfunded project rushed through city hall.

jonno
jonno
15 years ago

Ralph (#6)

The reason I support this option is because that additional 1.5 million (500,000 of which is coming from private donors, myself included) buys something worth much, much more than a sad, narrow slab of concrete. And don\’t kid yourself — freeway pedestrian bridges are proscribed by highway law to be just that. Ever seen the Bryant/Failing street bridges? Brutalist eyesores that disinvite use and insult the neighborhood.

This bridge has the chance to become a place, not just a thoroughfare. We won\’t get the chance again.

DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

Ralph has never taken out a loan!

And yes, Ralph, more lanes for more SOVs, with more GHG emissions, more oil, and less livability, is a waste of my money. A bridge that gets me safely and sustainably to my destination – with a little PDX aesthetic – is not.

I think you understand the situation perfectly. You\’re just wrong.

Daniel (teknotus) Johnson
Daniel (teknotus) Johnson
15 years ago

I dare any of the naysayers here to spend 20 minutes on these spans during rush hour, and not witness pedestrians running for their lives to get across three lanes of traffic. You will see it happen multiple times. Also most of the bikes you see passing through there especially the ones trying to get onto flanders will be sprinting to try to stay ahead of traffic. Before you declare it a waste of money I say go spend some time, and see it yourself. It is dangerous.

Russell
Russell
15 years ago

ralph – it has been said time and time again THE BUDGET IS NOT TRANSFERABLE. The PDC and Federal Grant Money (I believe the federal grant money is coming out of a specific fund for new bike/pedestrian infrastructure) would be applicable ONLY to this project. I\’m not sure about the transportation system development funds but it doesn\’t sound transferable from what I\’ve read. The PDC budget, if it works like all there other funding, is tax-increment financing. Tax-increment financing is unique to each project, hence why when everyone was complaining about the South Waterfront development they were waving their hands around for nothing – the money wouldn\’t have been there without the project, thus it couldn\’t have been used to build new schools, roads, whatever.

Secondly, with regards to the CRC 4.2 billion dollars is, roughly, 763 times more than 5.5 million. So comparing the two projects is really kind of ludicrous. I could go on about this project and it\’s pros/cons, but I won\’t.

Lastly, the 15 ft wide, concrete bridge is slated to be built in roughly 5 years. With the current climate of increasing fuel and materials cost in the construction industry the inflation over that time period cannot be accurately estimated. Economists at AGC (Association of General Contractors of America) believe that we are currently at a lull in the inflation, but that worse is coming. Between late 2003 and late 2007 (slightly less than 4 years) there was a 40% rise in construction costs. Compare this with the CPI over those years (avg ~ 2.86%) and you\’ll see that construction costs have risen an exorbitant amount. If you run that 10% annual inflation for construction costs forward 5 years the cost of your 15ft, concrete bridge is STARTING at 5.15 million dollars. That\’s assuming that the economists at AGC are wrong and that things aren\’t going to get worse.

Russell
Russell
15 years ago

Oh, someone please correct me if I\’m wrong in any of my figures and that the bridge is slated for being built in about 5 years. I read that somewhere and this whole thing (above) was put together rather quickly with my dinky phone calculator.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
15 years ago

Creative, sensible projects like this bridge relocation should be the norm, not a crazy exception.

What kind of city do we want to live in, anyway? One where huge highway projects get built to trim seconds off people\’s freeway commutes, and everyone who doesn\’t drive is left fighting over whatever dismal scraps are thrown our way? Or a city where we put people and neighborhoods first, make smart, forward-thinking infrastructure investments, and act according to our values (and dare I say visions?).

The ONLY reason this project is even in doubt is because the mayor and one commissioner have a petty, personal grudge against the commissioner who proposed it. The financial considerations are bogus because the funding sources differ for this bridge and whatever unusable monstrosity *might* be built in six years.

I\’ve been looking, hard, for downsides to this project. Haven\’t found any yet, but I\’m open. Bring it on…

G.A.R.
G.A.R.
15 years ago

I\’m a BTA member.
My vision of the 1500 block of Flanders is ordinary cityscape. The freeway is underground. A big green bridge would be absurd. It\’s nice to reuse the span, but not here. Flanders is the right alignment for a bikeway. Let\’s build a bike/ped bridge that will integrate well with the lid or be torn down if need be without breaking hearts. Spend the other money, if it exists, to make the bikeway really effective from the river to Westover. For example, have two intersections (at about tenth and twentieth) that are exit only except bikes. Minimize stops on Flanders otherwise. The expensive part is a crossing of Naito to connect the Flanders bikeway with the waterfront system at the Steel Bridge. This is important! Tunnel? Bridge? Signalized intersection? We\’re wasting time on this Sauvie thing.
Build infrastructure, not schmaltz.

Ian Clemons
Ian Clemons
15 years ago

This is worth the extra money. Portland is one of the the only places in the country that could consider doing something like this. It fits with my vision of what makes this a great place to live and be a biker. The national media would jump all over this and further distinguish us as the epicenter of the growing bike revolution.

The bridge is huge and I am excited about it being a destination and focal point for our community. This car-free oasis would be the perfect gathering place for rides, tours, bike classes, parades. Sometimes you have to spend a little extra to do the right thing…

…okay I wasn\’t saying that about the tram, but cost overruns were a different order of magnitude.

-Ian Clemons

Jeff
Jeff
15 years ago

This span would be very politically risky, DESPITE appearances. The danger is that it gets rammed through with little consideration and oversight and inadequate feasibility and engineering consideration. If something were to go wrong in the implementation, costs come back markedly higher, things get stalled in regulatory oversight, you could be looking at a repeat of the tram debacle. And then the almighty public would be asking heads to roll at city hall. All because \”time was of the essence\” and there was an underlying desire to \”do the right thing\” in a year when politics really matter.

DJ Hurricane
DJ Hurricane
15 years ago

G.A.R., you seem to be missing the important fact that your vision is not before the City Council, but the bridge is. If you want to re-use the span, you might consider that it fits perfectly here – can you name anywhere else where it fits so well? Didn\’t think so.

Elly is right – this is about what we as a community value. And we value first rate bike facilities and public art. And we\’re going to fight for it.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
15 years ago

I\’d like to add that every criticism of the Sauvie bridge relocation project I\’ve heard has been pretty much a wishlist of other bike infrastructure projects people would like to see funded. It\’s so great that people are thinking about ways to improve this city — but if we had only 1.5 million dollars and all had to agree on the one place to spend it, we wouldn\’t be able to build a thing.

Bike modeshare is skyrocketing — nearly 20% in some parts of the city — yet transportation spending on bikes remains less than 2%. The disparity between pedestrian mode share and spending is even greater.

We should be spending our time figuring out how to make sure spending meets actual need, present and future. NOT on shooting ourselves in the foot on worthy projects that actually have a chance of changing the way the city sets its priorities.

wsbob
wsbob
15 years ago

\”The ONLY reason this project is even in doubt is because the mayor and one commissioner have a petty, personal grudge against the commissioner who proposed it.\” Elly Blue

As much as I favor this project, and feel as though Potter is partly playing politics in his denial of a vote in favor, I think that accompanying this proposition, there has been a lack of material that would allow a knowledgeable choice between the option of the concrete span and the Sauvie Island reuse span.

For the concrete span option, people think in terms of the \’concrete stick\’ version, when that in fact may not be what the design will be. At least for myself, I\’d like to have some answers addressing what the concrete span would look like for the money and what it would cost to make it wider like the Sauvie.

I think many people\’s feelings about this project would be different if they had this information. With it, their decision to support or not support use of the Sauvie span would be more responsible as a result. I wonder what the chance of getting some answers from Sam Adams office would be.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
15 years ago

Jeff (#15) said:
\”The danger is that it gets rammed through with little consideration and oversight and inadequate feasibility and engineering consideration.\”

That is simply not the case with this project. Don\’t let the emergency declaration fool you. PDOT\’s top bridge engineers and planners have been studying this project for two years…and they fully support it.

Every project has risks, with this one I feel like the risk has been well calculated and that it would be well-managed.

but then again, I\’m just a shill for Sam so don\’t believe anything I type. 😉

Matthew
Matthew
15 years ago

#3: I know of a cheaper/wider alternative that could be installed next week. We just get the big dump trucks that are currently hauling around all the dirt from the Eastside big pipe to dump their loads into that big hole between 15th and 16th on Flanders until there is a flat spot all the way across, and then we put some asphalt down on top of that. After accounting for the savings in tipping costs for wherever they are currently taking that dirt, the project is probably free. (And it would probably make the air cleaner downtown too.)

Matt Picio
15 years ago

Ralph (#6) – it\’s $5 million, not $4 million. That leaves $500,000 (10%) left to be raised. Also, 2 years is hardly \”rushed\”.

This would be the largest reuse project in the city\’s history. It would be more durable than a concrete span, and twice as wide. It would serve as a key piece of the proposed Flanders bike boulevard. IT would allow people to get across the freeway in an area where connectivity, well, frankly… sucks.

I was at the site today – there is no good way for pedestrians to get through this area, and cyclists don\’t have it much better. Some of the commentors act as if this is the last funding the bike community will ever see. As has been mentioned previously, most of the funds being made available are special-purpose funds. They can\’t be used for other projects. I can understand if you personally don\’t want to contribute to the $500k that needs to be raised from private sources, but why disparage a project that dozens of people have spent 2 years working on, and which reutilizes existing materials rather than requiring everything to be built from scratch?

jonno
jonno
15 years ago

Matthew (#20)-

Yee-haw! Where do I sign that petition?

Just curious…where did all the dirt from the 405 excavation go way back when? And whose idea was it to dig a giant concrete trench across the central city? Politics aside, I\’d like to know.

wsbob
wsbob
15 years ago

jonno, I don\’t know where the excavation dirt went to, but the idea for the highway trench belongs to the late Robert Moses, the big time NYC planning god of the 50\’s, last century. It was part of the \’modern, efficient city\’ myth that a big asphalt gut for motor vehicles would make for better living.

You\’ll eventually hear about the \’Mt Hood Freeway\’ if you haven\’t already. It was supposed to chop up SE Portland just like I-405 did, but concerned Portland citizens rose up and killed it in the \’60\’s.

ralph
ralph
15 years ago

No matter how you spin this it is an underfunded project. And it is relying on donations from private citizens to make up the difference.

When this project goes over budget, who is going to guarantee that my tax money isn\’t used to bail out the project.

Also, this has not been looked at for two years. It\’s been an ignored project for two years. The only reason this is being looked at is the pressure from the contractor of the Sauvie bridge project putting pressure on Portland to make a quick decision.

I also don\’t like the lack of a bidding, and planning for this project. Someone point me to a project plan showing how this span is going to be moved from the waterfront to its final location. Show me some bids from more than one contractor.

We\’re being forced into this project by the company that stands to make the money. And props to them for getting every one riled up by pretending it is a green issue. The bridge is going to be recycle if not reused.

Doug Allen
Doug Allen
15 years ago

The I-405 dirt was dumped in Oaks Bottom.

Without knowing more, I think that re-using the Sauvie Island bridge is a great idea. Of course it would be great if it were cheaper, but I agree that it is a better use of transportation money than adding highway lanes, and it will sure be better than a narrow concrete bike/ped bridge. A good idea is worth spending more.

Spencer
Spencer
15 years ago

\”Vanity bridge\”

If you want to get an \”iconic\” bridge, then get the Pearl district developers who will benefit from having an icon to increase property values to pay the extra $1.5M.

The rest of this is retorical BS. BTA, Sam and rest just want a decernable trophy to point to and say \”I did it\” when they run for the next office, or ask for the next donation. (Just think Carcetti from the Wire). (Do you really think Sam will be Mayor for more than a term or two?)

We need to keep focused on basic bike infrastructure at a reasonable cost. That way, when we wna to to fix other problem areas (like Broadway and I-5) we have credibility and more public funds avaialble. I know the money seems as if it is coming form somewhere else, but in the end we are all paying for it.

My 2 cents.

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

What about the fact that ODOT is considering not having a bridge over the Sandy River, another East-side, turn-a-blind-eye by the Portland community?

Where\’s BTA and everyone else when there isn\’t a connection at all there? At least we can GET over I-405.

Another expensive project in downtown/pearl/close-in/etc, saturated with bike facilities and advocates, while East riders wait and wait for any educational or infrastructural support.

2GOAT
2GOAT
15 years ago

#27, Anonymous.
Sorry to say we hear your plea. Unfortunately $5 million of the funds can\’t go the East side whether this bridge is saved or not.
So do you want to promote safer travel thru all of Portland by Pedestrians and Cyclists? Support the Sauvie Island Bridge.
Your chance to get improvements will be when the Safe, Sound and Green Streets proposal is put to voters in November.
Vote yes for the project and your dreams may come true!!!

Lenny Anderson
15 years ago

Of course the best solution would be to tear out the I-405 freeway and restore all those blocks to the central city. Think of all those property tax dollars that would come back on the rolls.
I look at a newer map of Frankfurt am Main and note the new bike/ped bridge over the Main…now there are two. And here we are struggling to get a bridge over for pedestrians and bicyclists just over a damn freeway. Maybe the contractor can hold off until May 20th when our transportation future may be clearer. Portland, the city that doesn\’t dare.

2GOAT
2GOAT
15 years ago

The Save the Sauvie Bridge proposal is about history.

It’s about Mayor Potter’s $1.5 million Vision PDX plan for “building and strengthening our human infrastructure..” and keep in touch with the public and focus on the “community’s vision”. As Mayor Potter “pumped up the volume on the national stage” , it is about a city that’s a leader in sustainable development, promoting green ideals, adopting a goal to slash oil and gas consumption and reduce green house gas emissions.

It’s about Commissioner Saltzman’s Office of Sustainability’s “Self-guide walking tour of Sustainable Sites in Portland” filled with the cities old buildings that were re-used and made greener. From Portland’s Sustainable City Principles, “City elected officials and staff will: 4) Ensure environmental quality. 5) Use resources efficiently and reduce demand for natural resources. 6) Prevent additional pollution through planned, proactive measures rather than only corrective action. Enlist the community to focus on solutions rather than symptoms. 7) Act locally. 8) Purchase products based on long term environmental and operating costs and find ways to include environmental and social costs in short term prices. Purchase products that are durable, reusable made of recycled materials.”

The expense, $500 thousand, not $1.5 million, in PDOT funds that MIGHT be available for use in pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements elsewhere in the city. That’s because the source of the 500K funds will be from PRIVATE donations with PDOT sources available to make up the difference.

As had been stated, ad nauseum, $2 million from the SDC program allocated for a bike/peds bridge at Flanders, $2 million in TIF funds that are committed for the River District, $1 million from TE funds for alternative transportation projects (i.e., new roads).

The basic concrete/steel bike/ped bridge that is priced at $3.5 million today will have starting cost of easily $5 to $6 million (with a modest 6-8%/year Cost of Living increase) at its projected 5 -6 year start date.

Do the math. $5.5 million for a bridge today that fulfill’s Potter’s Vision PDX standards and Saltzman’s Office of Sustainability principles. It is just sad they both seemed to have forgotten them.

Stripes
Stripes
15 years ago

I would love to see this bridge re-used over the freeway here!

To all the naysayers out there…. cast your mind back to the last time you crossed an existing freeway ped/bike bridge.

Perhaps the Hollywood MAX station bridge, where you have to practically be a contortionist on your bike to make it up the insanely narrow zigzag onramp just to reach the bridge?

Perhaps the narrow Bryant Street ped/bike bridge over I5, which is so awful, even ODOT are finally stepping in to do something about it?

Reusing this 30 feet wide bridge is probably the most forward thinking thing both the ped & bike community could do.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
15 years ago

This project is just a warm-up — I\’m with Two Goats, ready to come out swinging for the east side after this. Got any more details about the ghostbridge over the Sandy?

2GOAT
2GOAT
15 years ago

Thanks Elly! BTW it\’s 2 Girls On A Tandem….2GOAT…long story….maybe over beer.

J
J
15 years ago

I\’m with Elly, 2GOAT and Anon.

I hope that this brings about awareness that there is great demand for more bike/ped facilities.

However, like E, 2, and A, I agree that we have GOT to start helping out the East Side. And by East Side, I don\’t mean \”Hawthorne and 15th\”. I mean the giant stretch of City of Portland EAST of I-205. There are a LOT of bikers/peds out there with very little educational or infrastructural support.

~j~

bahueh
bahueh
15 years ago

Jonathan…what\’s the hurry? why does there HAVE to be a bridge in place by December? and why does it have to be 30 feet wide, precisely, for a bike to travel over it?

bahueh
bahueh
15 years ago

also Jonathan, if you\’ve paid attention to public works projects in this town for the past decade, VERY few of them actually come in at or below projected budget….$1.5 M is an estimate that I just don\’t have faith in. sorry.

Elly Blue (Columnist)
15 years ago

Bahueh, I\’d like to invite you to come visit the bridge site for an in-depth tour on Thursday the 17th (or swing by and take a good hard look yourself in the meantime). It\’s pretty scary out there, particularly if you\’re trying to use the sidewalks.

Current projections for building a new concrete bridge are 5 or 6 years out…replacing it now instead (and with a span that might actually be adequate for increased demand in 5 or 6 years) will save lives, connect the city, and just be a good idea in general.

It doesn\’t HAVE to happen, but it would be foolish, not to mention completely divergent from Portland\’s city charter and its citizens\’ expensive \’vision,\’ not to act when the stars align like this.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
15 years ago

\”Jonathan…what\’s the hurry? why does there HAVE to be a bridge in place by December? and why does it have to be 30 feet wide, precisely, for a bike to travel over it?\”

bahueh,

There doesn\’t technically \”have\” to be a 30-foot bike/ped traffic bridge in place by December… but there could be a 30-foot bridge in place by December.

Despite the rhetoric of some people, the Pearl District is not a safe place to ride a bike. Despite it being the most dense area of the city, it\’s ridership numbers are not anywhere near as high as they should be.

Why is this?

In large part it has to do with I-405 and the on/off ramps that serve it.. and the lack of safe crossings.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
15 years ago

\”also Jonathan, if you\’ve paid attention to public works projects in this town for the past decade, VERY few of them actually come in at or below projected budget…$1.5 M is an estimate that I just don\’t have faith in\”

bahueh,

that\’s a fine concern to have. But I don\’t have faith in the FHWA setting the standard for the type of bridge we would get otherwise.

I don\’t have faith in ever seeing a new bridge happen if this one doesn\’t (it\’s not written in stone anywhere).

I don\’t have faith in our Mayor to prioritize the safe movement of Portlanders who are not in cars.

I don\’t have faith in our leaders doing what is in the best interest of Portlanders, instead of doing what\’s in their own best political interest.

I don\’t have faith in a lot of things…

And there is always risk whenever a project is done.

How much would a new concrete bridge cost when/if the city ever did it? We don\’t know.

With the Sauvie span, there has been a great deal of engineering, feasibility, and cost analysis already done. Sure, it could go south, but so could any project.

..sometimes you\’ve got to just pull the trigger on a project and this is one of those times.

wsbob
wsbob
15 years ago

Ralph #24, I\’m not sure this project has been ignored over the last two years, as much as it\’s been set aside as other projects have been dealt with. Adam\’s website had discussion about it June \’06, and if threads on this weblog are any indication, there\’s been discussion about it in between then and now also.

I don\’t think it\’s accurate to say that the only reason this project is being looked at is because of pressure from the contractor, Kuney, to reuse the Sauvie. There\’s widespread interest amongst Portland residents and Portland leaders for reuse of the bridge.

Personally, I find that officials command of the budget details as they relate to project obligations to be lacking. Also lacking in terms of designs for the proposed concreted span. But, maybe with all this interest and request for answers, they\’ll pull things together.

From one of the articles on Adams site, there\’s this about how the Sauvie will be moved into place:

\”What about moving the Bridge from its existing location at Sauvie Island?
\”Preliminary discussions with Emmert International indicate that the existing bridge could be lifted from its existing supports using a barge mounted crane. It would then be floated up the Willamette River to Portland\’s Waterfront Park. From the Waterfront Park location, it could travel down NW Everett Street until it intersects I-405. There it could slide onto preconstructed foundations at Flanders Street.\”

Is the Sauvie Island Bridge worth saving?

Matt Picio
15 years ago

Ralph (#24), the Sauvie span is not an ignored project. Dozens of city staffers and volunteers have been working on it for the entire 2 years. It isn\’t \”rushed\”. The indications were that it had support in the City Council to pass. When Mayor Potter sent his memo, politics happened, and now the bridge is mired in politics. We\’re not being \”forced\” into anything. Also, it *is* a green issue – the amount of energy and resources required to recycle tons of steel into new products is immense. It\’s cheaper than doing it from scratch, but immensely more expensive in terms of energy than moving it to sit over I-5. Recycling involves cutting the bridge up into dozens of pieces using oxy-acetylene torches, then shipping the pieces by truck to a foundry, which will use enormous amounts of energy to melt the pieces down, separate the rust and other undesired substances, and then re-cast them into new items, many of which may be \”disposable\” consumer goods instead of capital or infrastructure items. Re-use is much more sustainable than recycling.

Doug Allen (#25) – in addition to the dirt, construction debris was also dumped in Oaks Bottom. There\’s a group that cleans up the debris that \”floats\” to the top of the landfill on a regular basis.

Spencer (#26) – I don\’t think that environmental responsibility is \”rhetorical BS\”, and frankly, I think it\’s rather rude to paint those of us on this blog who support the bridge with a one-line dismissive statement. The re-use vs. recycling issue is not irrelevant, and I think many of us would agree that while cost is important, it shouldn\’t be the sole driving factor for what we want to do. If cost is the only important factor, then why should we build anything? Why build safety improvements – they just add to the cost of the project? Why eat \”real\” food? We can all eat TV dinners at $1.59 each. (or Ramen noodles)

We *do* all pay for this, and thank you for recognizing that. No matter what, this stuff is coming out of our wallets in one form or another. Portland has chosen in the 1970s, in the 80\’s, in the 90\’s – to do what\’s right even if it costs more. To be a liveable city, rather than just somewhere where people reside. We\’ve chosen environmental, sustainable, and low-environmental impact. The Sauvie Island span is cheaper in terms of energy to re-use than to recycle. We already use 5x more energy per capita than the rest of the world, mostly from non-replenishable sources. We need to look at options that are cheaper in terms of energy, even if some of them cost more in terms of money.

Anonymous (#27) – What bridge is this? Let me know and I\’ll look into it – I sit on the Multnomah County Ped/Bike Advisory Committee. In any case, the Sandy River runs through Multnomah County, not the city of Portland, so that\’s entirely an unrelated issue. I\’d be happy to help move that project along, though if you provide me with details.

Stripes (#31) – I just rode the Bryant street bridge for the first time this past weekend. Reminds me of Detroit – what a horrible bridge.

ralph
ralph
15 years ago

wsbob,

Discussion is not planning. Discussion is not design. Discussion is not budget.

People can talk all they want on websites and blogs and the like, but I don\’t see a plan, I dont\’ see a design, I don\’t see a budget, but I do see the word \”could\” repeatedly in the quote you provided.

This did get pushed to an emergency meeting because Kuney said they needed and answer right now or the bridge was going to be sold as scrap for recycling.

So while all the talk went on, nothing serious happened. Everyone in Portland government dropped the ball, Sam Adams included, until the contractor laid down the ultimatum.

And we ended up with a pie in the sky underfunded project that has not a whit of project planning to support it.

This needs to go out to bid and get realistic plans and budgets presented.

I can\’t agree with a project of this magnitude being approved in this manner; underfunded, no bid contract, no project plan.

Stripes
Stripes
15 years ago

Without a bridge like this, the entire Flanders bike boulevard is totally pointless.

What is the point of the bike boulevard, if I get to the freeway, and can\’t go anywhere?

What am I supposed to do? Fly?

If the Burnside/Couch couplet goes ahead, Couch will no longer be a viable bike route for us.

Then what?

wsbob
wsbob
15 years ago

Ralph, personally, I think that more concise details about the budget and design for each option; the Sauvie span and the concrete span, should have been readied and made available to the city council so that they could have made a better decision based on facts. For whatever reason, that didn\’t seem to happen.

At any rate, it seems as though plans for the Sauvie span are far more tangible than the concrete span: The span itself is already built and we know exactly what it looks like. Despite what some others would like to say, claims that the narrower concrete bridge or a steel fab bridge such as EXCEL or OBEC would build will be cheaper are not that convincing to me. Especially if it were built to the wider width of the Sauvie span. Exactly what their build-able, cost effective designs for the Flanders location would look like is somewhat vague.

I\’m just a semi-informed citizen, but my impression is that the elected officials don\’t really know what the narrower spans will cost either. I\’d really like to see them put together some solid estimates on those costs, because I\’ve got a feeling that those estimates may very quell much of the opposition against using the Sauvie Island span at Flanders St.

It would be very sad if the Sauvie span for Flanders is abandoned and the narrow concrete span turns out to cost as much or more down the road. We really need some answers now.

VancTom
VancTom
15 years ago

Why don\’t we buy it? All cycling enthusiasts pay $5, $10, $15, $20 or so to buy a piece of it. Then, when we ride over it, we can say \”I own this bridge\”. Of course we wouldn\’t. And, the City would have to maintain it. But, couldn\’t we come up with the additional $150k $5, $10 or so each? At $5 we only need 30000 of us. At $10, we only need 15000. The bike shops could collect it, and take our names. All owner\’s names could be posted somewhere so we can show and tell \”see I own part of this bridge\”.

blurt
blurt
15 years ago

VancTom,

Isn\’t that what is being attempted right now? Raising private funds to pay the $1.5M over the current funds that are available.

Buying the bridge is not really the issue.

The issue is approval of the project by the city. Go ahead and buy the bridge, but without the project approved by government, you\’re stuck with a really neat piece of sculpture and a monthly storage fee until you can come up with a place to put it.

Matt Picio
15 years ago

blurt (#46) – $500,000 not $1.5 million.

blurt
blurt
15 years ago

Matt,

$1.5M or $500K, still doesn\’t matter because the public buying the bridge isn\’t the issue.

If people like VancTom want to raise the whole cost of the project, go for it.

I don\’t agree with a single bid contract for this project and incomplete funding.