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TriMet unveils new bridge name finalists: What do you think?

Posted by on January 15th, 2014 at 11:38 am

TriMet has narrowed down possible names for their new bridge.

This morning at a presentation at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland, TriMet unveiled the four finalists in their search for a name that will forever identify their new bridge over the Willamette.

Below are the four finalists and a brief description (from TriMet) of its origin:

  • Abigail Scott Duniway Transit Bridge – Known as the “Mother of Equal Suffrage,” and “the pioneer woman suffragist of the great Northwest,” Abigail Scott Duniway dedicated herself to social justice, education and family welfare for more than 40 years.
  • Cascadia Crossing Transit Bridge – “Cascadia” takes its name from the Cascade Range and its snow capped mountains, which provide a scenic backdrop along much of the Willamette River Valley. The word describes a cross-border region of the greater Northwest.
  • Tillicum Crossing Transit Bridge, Bridge of the People – “Tillicum” is a word in Chinook jargon that means people, tribe and relatives.
  • Wy’east Transit Bridge – Wy’east” is the original name of Mt. Hood.

These names are a result of a big push by TriMet (that started last fall) to garner public feedback and ideas. They received nearly 9,500 names

In a statement released today, the chair of the naming committee, Chet Orloff said, “We selected these names because they reflect aspects of this region’s unique history, values and communicate the importance of community connections, both through transit and a shared history, now and for generations to come.”

The new bridge is part of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project and is the first bridge to be built over the Willamette River in 40 years. It’s also notable because cars and trucks won’t be allowed — only people riding transit, bicycles, and walking (or rolling) will be allowed access. It’s slated to open on September 12th, 2015.

What do you think? What’s your favorite?

I’m partial to Cascadia Crossing because it’s simple and Cascadia is already a term many people identify with. And for what it’s worth, my personal preference would be to drop the word “Transit” from the name. When I hear that term I think of rail and buses and it feels like it excludes biking and walking.

TriMet says they’ll take public feedback on these names until March 1st. Check out trimet.org/namethebridge for more info.

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.

  • Marid January 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

    1 vote for Duniway.

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  • Alan Love January 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I like Tillicum, perhaps because transportation isn’t about a vehicle, but PEOPLE getting from one place to another.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

      After just watching the Blackfish documentary that chronicles SeaWorld’s treatment of an orca named Tillikum, it’s hard for me to like the Tillicum name.

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      • Chris I January 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        Yep. I like Wy’East and Tillicum, but I have a feeling the “Tillicum” word is ruined for some time now.

        I was pulling for “Hooker Street Bridge”. Oh well, you can’t always win…

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        • GlowBoy January 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

          “I was pulling for “Hooker Street Bridge”. Oh well, you can’t always win…” I submitted that one too.

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    • scott January 15, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      If the cost of the bridge was matched and donated to saving Chinook Wawa, I think Tillicum would be appropriate.

      As I am sure it won’t be, appropriation of a name for that old “we respect natives” feel, really rubs me the wrong way.

      If a native name is what is wanted, it should be left to those with native blood to name. No other ethnicity allowed.

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  • Blake January 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I don’t like any of them. If I had to pick one it would be Cascadia.

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    • Wyatt Baldwin January 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Agreed. They’re all a bit of a mouthful, but Cascadia seems to work the best. On the other hand, I don’t really care what it’s called; it’s going to be awesome regardless.

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  • don arambula January 15, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Cascadia Crossing sounds like an outlet mall. Cascadia Bridge is better

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Yeah it sort of does now that I think about it Don. I’m beginning to think Duniway is my favorite.

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      • don arambula January 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        Since I’m being snarky:
        Tillicum up with a better name…
        Duniway with all the good ideas, no?
        Wy’East? WyNOT!

        Was hoping for “Bridge to Nowhere”. The LRT is going to Clackamas afterall.

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    • davemess January 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Yes, I think in conversation we’re all going to say “_______ Bridge” Anyway. What about simply naming it for the streets it comes off of (like most of the other bridges in town)?

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  • Paul Swanson January 15, 2014 at 11:50 am

    My favorite is Tillicum Crossing because it honors the people who live here, now and in the past. I also like that is unique. My least favorite is Cascadia Crossing, because the word Cascadia is so commonly used.

    Both Duniway and Wy’East are fine choices as well.

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    • scott January 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      I could not disagree more.

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  • PorterStout January 15, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I’d vote for Cascadia Crossing. Though I still like “So Not the CRC Bridge” too.

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  • Granpa January 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    My wife’s name is Abigail and I cross her all the time. That does not end well.

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  • Wyatt Baldwin January 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I’m going to call it the Willamette Transit Bridge.

    PS This is a great bike shed topic.

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  • SilkySlim January 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    We’ve already got Duniway track, where both genders can suffer alike.

    Going to vote, with a slight modification, for the “Wy’east-west Crossing.”

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  • Justin January 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Drop transit, go with Duniway. Personally I’m partial to Tillicum Crossing, but Duniway Bridge is the “bridgiest” name.

    In usage: “How’d you get to ?” “Oh, I biked over the Duniway”.

    Try replacing Duniway with any of the other bridge names. Duniway works best, and as a full name reflects a positive ideal.

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    • Todd Boulanger January 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      I agree…drop the word “transit” since it is multimodal. None of the 4 options float my boat.

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    • Craig Harlow January 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      No kidding, leave out the word “Transit”.

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    • Ben January 15, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      Or just as likely, “I biked over the Abby”

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  • Mel January 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I like Duniway. Not only because it sounds nice “Duniway Crossing” but when was the last time someone named a bridge after a woman’s right’s advocate? Bridges are rarely named after women. According to the Betsy Ross Bridge wikipedia page, only two bridges are named after women in the United States.

    We’ve named a mountain and a school after Duniway’s brother, Harvey Scott, surely we can honor her. Harvey Scott opposed women’s right to vote, by the way.

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    • Psyfalcon January 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      We do already have Duniway park in that general area. We should manage with it just fine, but it could be a small confusion to people.

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      • Garlynn January 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

        Not confusing… take Duniway Bridge to get to Duniway Park. It actually makes sense.

        Now, if Duniway Park were in St Johns, it would be confusing…

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  • Mac January 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I like all of the choices. I’m a little partial to Wy’east because I love Mt. Hood and I think using the traditional name of the mountain is a great tribute to the native people of this region. I’m going to be happy with any of these however.

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    • Chris I January 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      When traveling east on the new bridge, one will get a fairly good view of Mt. Hood, so I think Wy’east is fitting.

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  • Lance P. January 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    “Cascadia” was my suggestion!

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  • pixelgate January 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Generic/obscure names, symptoms of obvious overthinking it. Just call it the Omsi bridge.

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  • Josh G January 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Busses and ambulances will use the bridge right? I see lots of stuff about the bridge that doesn’t mention the latter in particular.

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  • Jayson January 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    All fine choices. I’m partial to a non-person name. The Native American names are unique to this region and remind us of our history. If I had to choose one, it would be Tillicum.

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  • Adam January 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I still think it should have have been named Lisa Simpson Bridge. She embodied Portland to the max – musician, vegetarian, free-thinker…. Lisa Simpson Bridge!!

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  • IanC January 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    * Duniway is great and I appreciate the shout out to a Female Oregonian. However, we already have Duniway park and Duniway Elementary.

    * Wy’East is cool but overused as well.

    *** Tillicum is awesome and I like the populist message of a no-car bridge being named for the People.

    **** Cascadia is my favorite because it reminds me of our Beloved Timbers and Thorns soccer teams. It stokes that regional patriotism in me that I wish more people had.

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    • davemess January 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      I exactly agree with you (other than the part about Wy’East being overused, I think it’s been about a year since I heard or saw anything with it). Can we hang scarves from the bridge!?!?!?!

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    • spare_wheel January 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

      regional patriotism my foot. cascadianism is a secessionist movement. northern cali, orgeon, washington, and BC have far more in common with each other than they do with the rest of the USA and canada.

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      • davemess January 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

        Used to. I think “cascadianism” means a lot of different things these days, including simply regional Patriotism.

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  • Dwayne Dibbly January 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I don’t really feel any excitement for any of them. Duniway already has other things named after her and has no link to transportation. Cascadia is too general. Tillicum? At least the translation does emphasize humans over vehicles. Wy’east doesn’t roll off the tongue. I guess I will go with Tillicum, knowing that I will probably call it “The Tilly Bridge”.

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  • Barney January 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Think of how the bridge will be referred to when people get used to it.

    The Abby Bridge.

    The Tilly Bridge.

    The Why Bridge.

    Cascadia Crossing.

    I think the last one rolls off your tongue the best!

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  • Champs January 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Color me shocked that Ms. Cathy Hastie was snubbed for the $134M monument to her. Ack!

    Otherwise, I’m more or less with IanC. There’s plenty of Duniway and Wy(‘)east. So long as Cascadian patriotism doesn’t extend to sports, I’m down with that. Tillicum is a close second, but loses points for spelling/legibility, never mind the juvenile joke potential. That Tilli/TILLI sequence makes it a better name for testing typefaces.

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    • Mossby Pomegranate January 15, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      She is a little too arrogant to have a bridge named for her IMO. ; )

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  • Terry D January 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    If I have to choose from these…..all our other bridges are named after men. Duniway does have things named after her, but active transportation is a social equity issue so I think it is a non-contoversial but appropriate choice.

    I still think the “Katzwalk” was the most clever, but we have four cats.

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    • dwainedibbly January 15, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      There are other women who are deserving, I’m sure. It’s disappointing that the committee didn’t look farther down that list.

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  • laura January 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    When I hear “Tilly”, I think of Tillie, the creepy clown-face mascot of Asbury Park NJ and Steeplechase Park (Coney Island). Maybe we could get him painted on the bridge piers!

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  • Christopher Sanderson January 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    My housemate suggested “The Pummeler Bridge” which is long for PMLR (Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail). I think that name honors the gritty, blue collar underbelly which has built this city, and gives it character!

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  • scott January 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    I think the high horse should be dismounted.

    South Bridge.

    No faking, just the facts.

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    • davemess January 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Except it isn’t the most Southern Bridge. So I could see that being a good bit confusing.

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      • scott January 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

        If you get South Bridge mixed up with Sellwood, Marquam, or Ross Island, there will be no directions that can help you.

        South of downtown to south of east side. South Bridge.

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  • q`Tzal January 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    It doesn’t matter.
    If these are the onlt choices it’ll just be shortened to “the transit bridge”.
    I suspect some naysayers will call it “the special interest bridge”.

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    • ed January 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      like public transit is special interest but private transit (cars) isn’t; lol

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  • Jeff January 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    This is my association with Tillicum:

    Tillicum is a neighborhood located in Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington bordered by the Tacoma Country and Golf Club to the north, Camp Murray to the south, Fort Lewis to the East, and American Lake to the west (from Wikipedia)

    There’s a big sign for the exit on I-5.

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  • ed January 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    You can bet that any Abagail Scott Duniway Transit Bridge will become the ASD, just like Martin Luther King Boulevard becomes MLK. Mouthful names like that provide due honor but let’s face it; won’t be used. So yes, Cascadia… pure and simple.

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  • Roberta January 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I like the Duniway Bridge which might be shortened to Abby. Wish the word Transit was out of the name.

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  • Barney January 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Personally I would choose Pont Neuf.

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    • dwainedibbly January 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I love it! Too bad it doesn’t nick the tip of Ross Island.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    It’ll be the “New Bridge” for me. And please drop “transit” as the thing is multi-modal, minus private motorized vehicles.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate January 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Graceful bridge…terrible names. Is this really all there is to choose from?

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  • Kevin Wagoner January 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Abigail Scott Duniway

    I agree, drop the transit. Having a bridge named after woman would rock. My 5 year old would love it.

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  • Pete January 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    You know that if “Cascadia Crossing” is chosen it’ll be renamed “Portlandia Crossing” in no time. But yeah, sounds like a strip mall…

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  • Peter W January 15, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I voted for the Kirk Reeves, partly because I felt he should be honored and partly because the bridge connection was obvious (he worked on the Hawthorne). https://www.facebook.com/KirkReevesBridge

    I’m curious to know what the vote breakdown was, and what process was used to select the candidates. Were there 9,500 votes or just 9,500 suggestions?

    Of the names suggested, the only one that has a bit of a transportation connection is “Wy’east”. Much like Wy’east is another name for Mt. Hood, the new bridge is a another view of what transportation could be vs. the Mt. Hood Fwy.

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  • kittens January 16, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Cascadia Crossing is so bland. Tillicum sounds like punchline to a middleschooler’s bawdy joke.

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  • David Bosch January 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Cascadia Bridge sounds good to me.

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  • TOM January 16, 2014 at 9:02 am

    Hart Noecker
    Cascadia Rail Crossing, or CRC for short.

    that way Kitz can get his CRC and stop that other nonsense.

    If you say the word “Tillicum” to me and ask for a response, I immediately think “Washington”

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  • mark kenseth January 16, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Wy’east Bridge. (No “transit.”) It looks like a ‘W’

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 16, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Frankfurt as the “Old Bridge,” as does Florence. Paris has the Pont Neuf or New Bridge, build under Henry IV in the late 16th, early 17th century.
    It was the first bridge in Europe without houses and shops, was very wide with a view of the river, so it was new in more ways than one. As is our new bridge…both the first one in 40 years and also a new kind of bridge…everything but private motorized vehicles. Hence “New Bridge” is very appropriate!

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  • Evan January 16, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Duniway is the best of the four, only because the other three are so Meh. No offense meant toward what Duniway did, which was admirable to say the least. But women’s suffrage and a transit bridge…I don’t see the connection.

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  • GlowBoy January 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Doesn’t make sense to name it THE Cascadia Crossing”, using the definite article, as if it is a bridge for the whole Cascadia region. Reminds me of news media organizations in Portland or Seattle calling themselves “THE Northwest’s news leader” or local businesses referring to themselves as “THE xxx of the Pacific Northwest”, when in fact most people in the other large city have never even heard of it. Makes no more sense than calling it “THE Oregon bridge” … well, no it isn’t. There are many bridges in Oregon. It’s a specific bridge; give it a specific name.

    Another way that “Cascadia Crossing” doesn’t work linguistically is that it implies that the bridge crosses either the Cascadia region or the Cascade Mountains, neither if which is remotely true. NAME FAIL.

    I guess Wy’East is OK, since it should have a good view of the mountain, though I will point out that due to the bridge’s alignment, Wy’East (the mountain) will probably only be visible to pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge, since you can’t generally see out the front of a train.

    Of the four, I’m leaning towards Duniway.

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    • GlowBoy January 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Oh, and while the sentiment behind Tillicum Crossing is admirable, I’m a little surprised no one here has yet pointed out that the name is just too easily turned into indecent jokes, and it will become a laughingstock. As in, “I’m gonna ride that bridge Till I …”

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  • John January 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Cascadia is a model of Freightliner truck. Maybe they should ask if they can use a truck’s name in case of trademark infringement.

    “Just head down the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade and take the Abigail Scott Duniway Transit Bridge of Sufferage to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park Trail”.

    Just rolls of the tongue, doesnt it?

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    • q`Tzal January 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      The name “Cascadia” existed long before Freightliner used it for a truck. They were able to use the name without legal repercussions because the name is a common public identifier.
      For example Freightliner could have called their Cascadia modle truck “Water” or “Pacific” or “rock hauler”. Each is common linguistically and belong to the public lexicon as a whole.

      Cascadia is the name of a mountain range that has been recorded in geological texts for decades. If anyone has standing for suing for use of the name it would be the geologists that came up with the name.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I thought our mountains were “The Cascades” named after the cascades on the Columbia River at Cascade Locks. Cascadia is a latter day handle for the westside of the Cascades from N. Cal to BC.

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  • Patrick Croasdaile January 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Apparently “Working Kirk Reeves” was the most recommended name for the bridge.


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  • schrammalama January 18, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I’ll be calling it the String bridge because of it’s suspension cable and as a compliment to the Steel bridge. Oh and of course it’s stringing together the transit services.

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