Interstate Bridge 100th birthday essay contest wants to hear your “adventures”

Posted by on January 30th, 2017 at 11:22 am

Ride Along with Branden Shelby-10

Adventure time.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

To help mark the 100th birthday of the Interstate Bridge a group of organizations is hosting an essay contest.

When we saw the theme — “My Interstate Bridge Adventure” — we figured people who bike across the bridge might be inspired to enter. That’s because on a bike it feels like an adventure every time I cross the narrow path just feet from rumbling motorized traffic.

Unfortunately we just heard about this and deadline for entries is tomorrow night (1/31).

Like many of you, I have mixed feelings about this bridge. I of course love the fact that it connects me to downtown Vancouver; but it’s hard to access and once on the bridge it’s not always pleasant to ride on. Add in the controversies surrounding the Columbia River Crossing project and it’s no wonder I’m much less enamored with this bridge than others like the Steel, Hawthorne, or Broadway.

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(Photo: Oregon Historical Society)

I’d love to hear from those of you who ride this often.

If you’d like to join the official celebration, mark your calendar for February 11th. The festivities will happen at the Red Lion on the River (Jantzen Beach) from 3:00 to 6:00 pm. “This is going to be a fun and educational event honoring a bridge that helped connect vibrant communities and the broader region,” said Nancy Chapin, from PDX Bridge Festival. “Prior to the bridge opening in 1917, the only way to cross the Columbia River was by ferry boat.”

You can learn more here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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

17 Comments
  • Avatar
    rick January 30, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I loved walking with friends to see the fireworks on the north-bound bridge on the 4th of July in 2007. Many people driving by would nearly stop to see the fireworks. I do think the railroad bridge just to the west needs a bike/walk bridge attached to it. Having just two walk/bike routes across the Columbia in the region is not enough.

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    Justin M January 30, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I prefer the I-205 bridge for biking across when possible. It’s much more pleasant (at least with headphones in. noisy!)

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    MaxD January 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    When the CRC was raging, I would often hear “this is the only red-light on I-5 between Canada and Mexico”. This was used as justification for the urgent need to quickly spend BILLIONS to replace it. However, it always struck as something to take pride in! To me it represents our region valuing a mix of transportation that includes moving freight on the river. It also represents our reluctance to pour endless dollars into Interstates.

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      Middle of the Road Guy January 31, 2017 at 10:11 am

      There are plenty of other good reasons to replace it…regardless of a red light.

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        MaxD February 1, 2017 at 9:48 am

        Agreed! However, the previously proposed replacement got rid of the drawbridge and would have cost 100’s of millions to buyout and close 3 successful businesses and permanently preclude many future river-based operations located east of I-5. In case you missed it, there was a commonsense alternative proposed that spend resources rebuilding the railroad bridge to the west of the I-5 bridge to allow more efficient river travel that would eliminate most of the bridge lifts, but retain the lift function. I am all for replacing the bridge, but I want a solution that supports industry, transit, and placemaking and discourages sprawl in northern Vancouver and increased congestion in North Portland, a location with some of worst air quality and highest asthma rates in the country!

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    Jerry H January 30, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    A few years ago, I was following a rider that I don’t know. I was about 100 ft behind him. The next time I looked up he was gone! Then he reappeared coming from the direction of the traffic lane. He was lucky, he was ok, his handle bar had hit one of the girders, that flipped him over the guardrail landing across in the traffic lane. So fortunate no vehicle was there!

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    Champs January 30, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I’ll never forget the entire summer afternoon I lost by riding in circles, trying to find my way into downtown Vancouver. It was just long enough that I had to turn back as soon as I got there.

    Kudos to the hero guerilla(s) who painted all the wayfinding arrows over anonymous, then-unsigned paths. That squeaky wheel sure got the grease.

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    mark smith January 30, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Want less traffic? Turn the southbound lane into Portland Bus/Train/Bike only. Wala! Less traffic.

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      Justin M January 30, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      Better yet: monorail

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 30, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Like the ones that put Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook on the map?

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    Middle of the Road Guy January 31, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Not fond of this bridge. Sidewalk is continually filled with junk and it seems to be sort of a tweaker highway.

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    Tom January 31, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Puddlecycle’s “Two Bridges Ride” will go to this event on February 11. The ride starts at 1 pm at the MAX Red Line Mt. Hood station, and goes over the I-205 Bridge exploring the cool stuff close to the water on the Vancouver side of the Columbia River. The ride ends going over the Interstate Bridge to the Red Lion Hotel (which is about a mile from the MAX Yellow Line Expo Center station).

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    Todd Boulanger January 31, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Take a look at the opening day photo – that hazy cloud is coming from the cars (gasoline & wood? powered!), amazing…I know of some riders with asthma who pick a side of the bridge to cross to keep upwind of the motorized vehicle air pollution…

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    Todd Boulanger January 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I remember the good: riding through a snow storm with a christmas tree on my bike crossing the bridge…

    I remember the bad: coming upon a cyclist friend who had crashed on the bridge and hit several girders while coming to rest on the walkway…

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    ChadwickF February 1, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Oh, You mean the CRIME BRIDGE that went in in 1917?
    The Ferry made Vancouver so much safer.
    Pff. You mean the CRIME FERRY?
    Personal canoes kept that element out!

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    Mike February 1, 2017 at 6:33 am

    I’m a geezer and remember my dad taking me across the bridge to view the Vanport flood in 1948, and, in 1946, to watch people walking across the frozen river below the bridge. Yeah. We had REAL winters back then. None of this kiddie stuff that brings the city to a standstill nowadays.

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    Dave February 1, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Turn one span of the bridge into a pedestrian/bike bridge. Use the other span for light rail/buses. Tunnel I-5 under the river. No design concerns. I bet the cost isn’t that much more for a tunnel verses a bridge after you account for the years of studies and controversy ahead with a new bridge.

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