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Checking in on the carfree Blumenauer Bridge over I-84

Posted by on November 10th, 2020 at 11:03 am

The arch pieces were constructed off-site and are now being moved into place.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland/BikePortland)

Drawing of finished product.

By next spring or summer you’ll be able to bike across Interstate 84 on 7th Avenue between the central eastside and the Lloyd: No more snaking onto sidewalks or risking life and limb on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard or SE Grand Avenue; no more riding all the way up to NE 12th to get across the freeway.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been working on the $14 million Congressman Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge for nearly a year now and — judging by a recent visit to the construction site — things are about to get very interesting. As you can see in my photos, the 300-foot arch pipes and steel girders are in place and landings on both sides of the span have been prepped.

The new bridge will stretch 475 feet over Sullivan’s Gulch and will be 24-feet wide. There will be a 10-foot wide sidewalk and 14-foot wide lane in the middle for two-way bicycle, scooter, and other micromobility vehicle users. Each side of the bridge will become plazas that integrate with the street grid.

Here’s what I saw at the site a few days ago:

View of the north landing from the SE Grand Ave overpass.

Another shot of the arch moving into position at the south landing.

View of the southern landing from the north side.


View looking south across the Gulch from the north landing.

View looking southwest toward the central eastside from an elevated perspective in the Lloyd.

Closer look at the south landing site.

View of the future bridge entrance from the existing bike lane on NE 7th in the Lloyd.

The completion of this bridge will be a game-changer for cycling connectivity between the central eastside and the Lloyd. It will also be an important marquee to signal Portland’s commitment to carfree travel.

And in other exciting bridge news, PBOT just announced that the Gideon Overcrossing is now open! Stay tuned for a full report on that bridge soon.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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David Hampsten
David Hampsten

I hadn’t realized the Congressman Earl Blumenauer had passed away. When was this? I could have sworn he was in the news recently related to Biden. Portland is a reasonable community, so they would never be Republican and be so crass as to name a piece of public infrastructure after a live person, would they?

Zach Reyes
Zach Reyes

Very exciting photos Jonathon! I am also very happy with the reduced traffic speeds on NE Lloyd Blvd as of late. Is PBOT planning on reducing the number of traffic lanes after construction is complete? Can’t tell you how many times I have seen reckless car drivers speed through that street (and red light!); it’s very dangerous to cross as a biker or pedestrian.


I’m so excited for this to open.

There’s a proposal to convert to NE 7th Ave in the Lloyd District one way for cars, with the east side of the street converted into a two-way bike lane. It was even shown in the renderings for some recently approved buildings. It could be built relatively cheaply using paint, with a robust implementation to come later. It’s not clear to me though whether that’s moving ahead or not. If this is happening I hope they decide to move forward soon, because it alters the design for the bridge landing at 7th/Lloyd.

Whyat Lee
Whyat Lee

I haven’t found much to be excited about this year. This is exciting.

I would love to hear more updates on the north-sou
I would love to hear more updates on the north-sou

I would love to hear more updates on the north-south greenways leading to this new fantastic bridge.


This bridge will “be a game-changer for cycling connectivity”, activating a N-S route through the inner E side and releasing pent-up demand for bike and pedestrian travel routes. The cost is 2 percent of the projected bill for the Rose Quarter freeway widening project. That’s right, for the same money we could fix fifty travel gaps, deadly intersections, pedestrian quagmires, transit time-sucks…fifty or perhaps more.

What are the top 100 sketchy places for people outside of a car in the Portland city limits?


The bridge is great. One thing about projects like this–many aren’t creating new routes for biking and walking so much as replacing ones taken away decades ago by road projects that removed biking and walking routes, and should have included things like this but didn’t. Portland could spend at least hundreds of millions just getting safe walking and biking options back to what they once were before freeways and highways destroyed them.

Scott Kocher

This is cool. It is also a reminder of the difference between ped/bike infrastructure and infrastructure that is only necessary to mitigate a city’s safety and access problems created by fast cars. It is like the Barbara Walker Crossing over W Burnside for the Wildwood Trail. It is car mitigation infrastructure. And it is better than having I-84 without it.