The Classic - Cycle Oregon

Want to name that bridge? Now’s your chance

Posted by on October 17th, 2013 at 9:56 am

TriMet's yet-to-be-named bridge

TriMet’s new bridge is shaping up, but it still needs a name.
(Concept drawing)

All joking aside, what is that new Willamette River bridge going to be called? Starting this morning, the citizens’ committee appointed to decide is asking for ideas.

In construction for more than a year, the new cable-stay bridge is being built by TriMet as part of its Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project. The agency says it’ll be the only one in the country to carry buses, trains, emergency vehicles, and people on bike, foot or skate, but no private cars. It’ll connect the fast-developing Southeast Division Street area with the South Waterfront.

In August, TriMet chose a committee to handle the naming process. It’s chaired by Portland State University historian Chet Orloff, with help from:

Former PBOT Director Sue Keil is on
the naming committee.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

— Betty Dominguez, director of policy and equity for Home Forward, Portland’s public housing authority
— Matthew French, managing parter of the Zidell Corporation
— Sue Keil, a member of the Willamette River Bridge Advisory Committee and former Portland Bureau of Transportation director
— David Lewis, tribal historian for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Native American community whose ancestors have lived here as long as anybody
— Brenda Martin, a PSU graduate student in urban and regional planning and a regular transit rider
— Alice Norris, a former mayor of Oregon City
— Pat Reser, a Beaverton business owner and philanthropist
Travis Stovall, a TriMet board member and Gresham business consultant
— Krystyna Wolniakowski, director of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Portland office

It’s hard to imagine, of course, that none of these folks have their own opinions on who or what this $134 million landmark should be named for. But you never know; TriMet ended up naming its light rail system, the Metropolitan Area Express, after a pet rabbit in a book of a local typography designer’s young son. To submit your ideas for the bridge’s name, visit TriMet’s website for the process.

The biking connections to this bridge will be crucial to making it deliver the economic value it promises. We’ll be running a couple posts soon looking closely at the ways this is likely to happen, so stay tuned.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Spiffy October 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I put in my suggestion…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Spiffy October 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I can’t seem to find any documentation that shows the layout of the bridge deck, or the bus connections on either end…

    it looks like it’s only one lane each way shared with trains and busses, but I can’t really tell from anything I’m finding… and most things are concept and not the actual final design…

    who has a link to something that shows me the final deck layout and bus connection?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • hilsy October 17, 2013 at 10:38 am


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • seeshellbike October 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Sell the naming rights and take the money and build more bike/ped improvements!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Zed October 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

      I’d be worried that a company less than desirable would buy up the rights.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Scott October 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        Oh man….that would be my favorite bike bridge in the whole world. Please, BP, Shell Oil, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, hear my plea and buy this bridge’s naming rights.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Harald October 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        BP as in Bike Portland?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Scott October 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

          No. As in British Petroleum. Who would name a bridge after a blog?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • BURR October 17, 2013 at 11:59 am

      screw naming after any corporate sponsor

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Pete October 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm

        But what if Chris King steps up??

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Scott October 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

          It’s a corporation, man. It matters not how well they treat their employees or their product. It matters that you can label them.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • john October 17, 2013 at 10:49 am

    “the willamette narrows “

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BIKELEPTIC October 17, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Maybe if they name this one CRC they’ll get confused which bridge, mix up paperwork and figure “oh done!” Like a trojan horse.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Kirk October 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      How about the ‘Carfree River Crossing’? Now that’s a CRC I could get behind 😉

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • smedley October 17, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I came by to recommend The Chinook Bridge. It’s a line that travels east a la “upriver” / “spawning grounds”, also takes you west, back to the ocean. Although I’d hate to think of the Eastside as “Spawning Grounds”, some can say the West Suburbs are where we die off.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Scott October 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Von Pinderschlagen Jaime (hi-may) Bridgewater the 7th

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Hudson October 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    The Crime Train Portal To Milwaukie.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Paulie October 18, 2013 at 9:22 am

      The Por-Milwaukie Bridge.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Hudson October 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

    (I kid, I kid)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BURR October 17, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Almost anything as long as there is no corporate sponsor’s name attached.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Scott October 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      I would love it if it was sponsored. How about ‘Water Crossing, by New Seasons’?

      Or ‘The Chevrolet Foot Bridge’?

      That would be awesome.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Dave October 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    The Ray Polani Bridge

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Alison Fulmer October 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      Sounds perfect to me!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • middle of the road guy October 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Sellwood 2: Electric Boogaloo.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • dave October 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    We’re all just going to end up calling it the OMSI bridge anyway, or the Water Ave bridge, or maybe the South Waterfront bridge. I’m all for a good practical & descriptive name. “Chinook” gives me hives, unless there’s a fish ladder incorporated into the design I haven’t heard about.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Fred October 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    The “Spandex Span”

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Lascurettes October 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Can we call it the Caeser E. Chavez Bridge and reclaim 39th Ave?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • J.J. November 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      We do need to reclaim 39th ave… But I wouldn’t want Chavez bridge either. A street should have been named after Chavez in an area that was culturally linked to him… Like Hillsboro. With all the new construction out in the Hillsboro area I was just boggled as to why they had to mess with the street name of an important and established street. I worked at a business on 39th Aves when the renaming was going on, it was horrible. Confusing for patrons of the business, expensive to replace signs, business cards and other documents. Was such crap. I will always call it 39th Ave.

      I think naming the bridge after Vera Katz would be wonderful. She served our city for many years and as several articles/websites have pointed out there is not a bridge named after a woman yet.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Pete October 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Leonard P. Zakim West

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mark Allyn October 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Bridge Over Troubled Waters

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Granpa October 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Confounded Bridge

    To answer the age old question “Where is that confounded bridge?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Slammy October 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    The Bee Line… (Get it? Yellowjackets…)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • kittens October 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Marie Equi Bridge

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Scott October 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Why would an anarchist want something named after them?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • kittens October 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm

        they dont get to decide, i do!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • sabes October 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Springfield Memorial Bridge

    (obligatory Simpsons reference)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam October 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      I think the Wiggum bridge has a certain ring to it. 😉

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • pixelgate October 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Martin Luther King Sr./Mel Blanc/Kugupu/Steve Jobs/Ken Kesey/Music/Film History/Calligraphy Boulevard Bridge

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Charley October 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm


      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • ben October 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Bridge will be called, “That is what she said”

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • grimm October 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm



    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Justin October 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Mark Allyn
    Bridge Over Troubled Waters
    Recommended 0

    More like a Bridge Over Polluted Waters

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Editz October 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam October 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I would like to name it the Victoria Taft bridge, after Portland’s very own uber-right-wing radio host. This bridge really, really got her goat. She was mad it didn’t carry car traffic. I don’t know… I think it would just be hilarious. (Yes, I am secretly age 7).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Adam October 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    (But in all seriousness… I like the idea of naming it after Sam Adams. Whatever you thought of his personal life etc etc, he was a darn hardworking Mayor who put Tom Potter – and seems to be putting Charlie Hales – to shame. He always had an ear for the bike community, and pushed hard for many bike improvements – for which I think he should be applauded).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • CaptainKarma October 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Which would become the Sam Adams beer bridge.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Terry D October 17, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        The Perfect Corperate sponse! .

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Mossby Pomegranate October 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Charlie who?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • A, J, Zelada
    A, J, Zelada October 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    here is a letter from ODOT’s Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee
    requesting that TriMet considering honoring the “Bike Bill’s” creator:

    Neil McFarlane
    TriMet General Manager
    4012 SE 17th Ave.
    Portland, OR 97202

    March 8, 2011
RE: Naming the Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge over the Willamette River

    Dear Neil,
The Portland-Milwaukie light-rail line embodies the philosophy of active transportation. With that in mind, we would like to propose that the project’s new bridge spanning the Willamette River be named the (Don) Stathos Bridge as a fitting memorial to an Oregon pioneer and trailblazer in the field of active transportation.

    As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Oregon’s original Bicycle and Pedestrian Bill during 2011, it is fitting that we pay tribute to a man who brought awareness of and support to active transportation for our state, region and local communities.

In 1971, Don Stathos, a Republican state representative and avid bicyclist from Jacksonville, Oregon, sponsored House Bill 1700. Only nine representatives and one state senator originally backed the Bicycle Bill. At each stage of the legislative process, the bill passed by just one vote. Initially, Governor Tom McCall didn’t favor the bill, but he changed his mind as he came to believe it was a good thing for Oregon and Oregonians. The governor signed the bill into law on the steps of the state capitol using the seat of Stathos’ Schwinn Paramount as a table.

    The bill allowed for the creation of the present-day Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, a governor-appointed committee that the Oregon Department of Transportation on bicycling and walking. (The Oregon Bicycle Advisory Committee (OBAC) was formed by ORS 366.112, a bill passed in 1973. In 1995, the Oregon Transportation Commission officially recognized the OBAC’s role in pedestrian issues; the committee became the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC)). In 2010 the committee awarded grants for approximately $5 million for the design and construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

    We realize this request comes very early in the project process. Nevertheless, please allow our collective wishes to be considered when the project moves toward choosing a name for the bridge. We can think of no better choice than to honor Don Stathos. We all stand on his shoulders as we make active transportation a real part of public policy and public works for our society.


    Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • dwainedibbly October 17, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Let’s name it after some high-profile crash victims, perhaps on Barbur.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Allan Folz October 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    People’s Bridge

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • TOM October 17, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I thought the BP’s lifestyle columnist had already claimed rights to name the bridge … after herself. 🙁

    Portland’s $134 million monument to me
    Posted by Cathy Hastie (Lifestyle Columnist) on August 28th, 2013

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Lenny Anderson October 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    John Reed Bridge

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • JohnS. October 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

    The Not Car Bridge.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Tree October 18, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Support the effort to Name the Tri-Met bridge after “Working” Kirk Reeves! His white tux coat, mouse ears, and trombone brought so many smiles to Portlanders on their commutes, naming this bridge in Kirk Reeve’s honor would be an appropriate way to honor this long time Portland icon.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • PorterStout October 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Best Bridge. It’s the only one that will reliably continue to move during rush hour. “Traffic jams everywhere this morning, except on Portland’s Best Bridge…”

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • nikorasu October 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Should be named the “South Waterfront Bridge” or be named after an influential and well liked person who represents Oregon’s progressive values. But who?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • GlowBoy October 22, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Many of our bridges (Broadway, Hawthorne, Morrison, Broadway) are named after one of the streets to which it aligns on one end or the other.

    The new bridge’s alignment is already visible on Google Maps (currently labeled “Caruthers Bridge”). Taking a close look at the western alignment, it looks like it should be called …

    … the Hooker Bridge.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • GlowBoy October 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

      More seriously (although I couldn’t restrain myself from submitting “Hooker Bridge”) I also submitted the following:
      – Meade Bridge. Besides Hooker Street, the western end of the bridge will also align pretty close to Meade Street, and more specifically with the already-named Moody & Meade streetcar station.
      – Sherman Bridge. The eastern end will actually align with Sherman Street, not Caruthers Street as used in the working name.

      Coincidentally (?), Sherman and Meade were both Civil War generals. Discuss.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • geezer October 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

        So was Hooker.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jeff Jahn October 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Rothko, the city’s most famous son. He painted the site and grew up along its west end connection. He was a fan of mass transit and it would honor russian immigrant jews who have done a lot for the city (their primary district just south of the downtown has been revevelopoed leaving little trace. More:

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Chad October 23, 2013 at 9:19 am

    The Multi-Moda Bridge.

    Recommended Thumb up 0