Updates: Portion of Esplanade path closes, Lafayette Bridge elevator back online (for now)

Esplanade closes, bridge opens (for now).

There have been updates to two stories we’ve been following over the weekend.

After over 45 days of closure TriMet has found a “temporary fix” for the Lafayette Bridge elevator in the Brooklyn neighborhood. The bridge closed in February due to an issue with moisture in the system that caused the braking mechanism to fail. Last week TriMet said they still hadn’t figured out a solution. On Friday evening we finally heard from them that the elevator is working once again.

Here’s TriMet’s statement:

TriMet has made a temporary fix and restored elevator service at the Rhine-Lafayette Pedestrian Bridge in Southeast Portland. While the elevators have been turned back on, there may be future disruptions as crews work to determine the root cause of a moisture issue that has led the safety systems in the elevators to activate and automatically shut down service at times. Our crews are trying some temporary solutions to prevent the water intrusion, until the cause of the issue can be confirmed. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank users for their continued patience as we work on a permanent solution.

And in case you missed it (we always Tweet stuff like this, so you should follow us!), on Saturday the Portland Parks and Recreation bureau closed the floating portion of the Eastbank Esplanade path between the Steel and Burnside Bridges. Snowmelt and rain have combined for high water levels on the Willamette, causing the floating docks to raise above the ramps that feed them. The closure will remain until the water level recedes to below 17.5 feet (check current levels here).


Here’s the official statement:

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is temporarily closing the floating portion of the Eastbank Esplanade due to extremely high Willamette River water levels. PP&R has been carefully monitoring this section of the popular riverside trail, located on the east side of the Willamette, over the past few days. During periods of very high water, when the river reaches approximately 17.5 feet, the ramps rise to an angle determined to be potentially unsafe for people on bikes, on foot, and for those using mobility devices. This situation has occurred in the past during rare, extremely high river elevations (most recently in May of 2011).

The floating section of the Esplanade is tethered to the solid riverbank between the Steel Bridge to the north and past the Burnside Bridge to the south. Staff are installing warning signs (attached) to notify cyclists, runners and walkers. Signs will be located on the Esplanade, both ahead of the impacted areas and at the points of closure.

The closure will remain in effect for an undetermined length of time – until river conditions allow for safe travel on the impacted section of walkway. Staff are monitoring conditions regularly and will reopen the area as soon as it is determined to be safe. Commuters, walkers, cyclists, etc., should use street alternatives.

With our crazy winter weather and approaching spring/summer construction season, you can expect a lot of construction detours and closures in the months ahead. We’ll keep you posted as we can — and please contact us if you come across anything we should know about.

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

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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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6 years ago

Sewer project will close at least one lane of Highway 43 near downtown Lake Oswego.


Scott H
Scott H
6 years ago
Reply to  rick

Highway 43 is 3 lanes there, so there will still be a full-time motor vehicle lane in each direction. As it is, 43 alternates back and forth from 1 to 2 lanes in each direction through that area, so anyone with a realistic understanding of traffic engineering could understand that just keeping it one lane would have virtually no impact on throughput. Someday ODOT will graduate from the stone age and keep 43 one lane in each direction from Lake Oswego to the Sellwood bridge to make room for bike lanes.

6 years ago

The closure will remain until the water level recedes to below 17.5 feet

if I’m reading their graph correctly it hasn’t quite reached 17.5 feet yet…

their closure level is an approximation, and it’s the safety of the facility that determines when they re-open it… my guess is that it’ll be around 17 feet, which according to their forecast will be next week’s commute…

6 years ago

Here is how broken bike / walking infrastructure gets fixed in this city: Infrastructure breaks –> nothing happens –> Jonathan writes about it on bikeportland –> Bikeportland readers complain –> Infrastructure gets fixed.

I mean, is this just my impression or is there a strange correlation between these topics popping up on bikeportland and things getting done? A good example in the recent past is the gravel on St. John’s bridge.

Jonathan, thank you for bringing this issues to our attention; PBOT / ODOTO / TriMet: this is not the way to prioritize walking / biking.

Andrew Kreps
Andrew Kreps
6 years ago

The Lafayette elevator is down again, with no alerts from Trimet. I dropped them a note about the lack of information, you should too: https://trimet.org/contact/customerservice.htm