When TriMet asked for bridge names, bike-inspired ideas rolled in

Street performer on Hawthorne-2.jpg
Kirk Reeves on the Hawthorne Bridge.
(Photos by J.Maus/BikePortland)

As we mentioned in this week’s Monday Roundup, the late trumpet performer Kirk Reeves was passed over by TriMet’s official bridge-naming committee, but not before getting 840 bits of love from people who suggested that the agency name their bridge for him.

Reeves connected with many people who crossed the nearby Hawthorne Bridge on bikes, and he’s one of several public suggestions for the bridge’s name that had links to local biking.

Here’s a look at a few of them, culled from TriMet’s news release of 9,000 public suggestions for the name of the bridge that will carry bikes, buses, MAX trains, streetcars, ambulances and people on foot:

The most popular bike-specific suggestion was “The Rose Pedal.” Local pun-lovers put up 47 variations on that name.

My personal favorite is a concept that’ll be familiar to anybody who keeps track of our style rules here at BikePortland: “The People’s Bridge.” In all, TriMet got 193 suggestions of one variation or another on “Bridge of the People” or “People’s Bridge,” a concept that’s captured with a more historical flavor in “Tillicum Bridge of the People,” one of the four official options.

86 suggestions mentioned Oregon’s sainted anti-sprawl Gov. Tom McCall, who signed the 1971 bill that required most road construction projects to include dedicated biking facilities — a law that, 20 years later, gave the Bicycle Transportation Alliance a legal opening to force bike lanes onto major streets.

Another three suggestions invoked the late Oregon state Rep. Don Stathos (R-Jacksonville), who sponsored the Bicycle Bill and eventually brought McCall on board. As we reported back in 2011, this was the official nomination of the Oregon Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee, on which Stathos served for 30 years.

The most popular bike-specific suggestion was “The Rose Pedal.” Local pun-lovers put up 47 variations on that name.

Close behind was former Mayor Bud Clark, the bike-commuting tavern owner, ex-Marine and Reed dropout who unexpectedly took over City Hall after thumping the city’s last truly car-oriented mayor, Frank Ivancie, on Election Day 1984. Clark’s name was suggested 43 times (not counting several that might have been references to explorer William Clark, or someone else).

Earl Blumenauer, the man who oversaw Portland’s trend-setting embrace of urban bike infrastructure when he served on city council, became the leading bike advocate in Washington D.C. and personally signed the letter notifying TriMet that it had secured 50 percent federal funding for the bridge, got 25 votes.

Former mayor Vera Katz (on left, in bronze)
has the Esplanade; some folks think former biking
mayor Bud Clark should get the bridge.

38 different suggestions mentioned bikes or biking one way or another. A few:

Four suggestions mentioned Mia Birk, Portland’s first bike coordinator and now a bike-design entrepreneur with Alta Planning and Alta Bicycle Share.

One person suggested former Mayor Sam Adams, who upped the city’s contribution to the bridge by $20 million when its future was in doubt. (Two others, both of whom seemed to struggle with spelling, put in “Adam’s Folly” and “Adams Folley.”)

One person put in “The Lenny Anderson.”

There’s this one, which also happened to be the only suggestion mentioning the streetcar: “The Portland Span or S.P.A.N. (Streetcar, Pedestrian, And Non-Motorized or non-private in the future, if/when busses us the bridge).”

With “Walton’s Way,” one person seemed to allude to one of the region’s most famous bike lovers.

And finally, one person nominated probably one of the least popular bike-lovers in Portland: George W. Bush.

Some suggestions were more likely than others.

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