Blumenauer Bridge set to open Sunday: Here’s your guide to the festivities

A lone rider squeezed through an opening of the construction fencing on Saturday to cruise up the new bridge toward the Lloyd. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
“It’s really a dream come true for me,” Blumenauer said at the bridge this morning. (Photo: Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

The opening of a carfree bridge across I-84 in Portland’s central city that’s named after a former city transportation commissioner and founder of the Congressional Bike Caucus is a very big deal.

The Lloyd and the Central Eastside will never be the same again!

So it’s fitting that there are a ton of activities lined up to mark the occasion of the official opening of the Congressman Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge. The big day is Sunday July 31st.

And Congressman Blumenauer is ready. This morning, standing atop roaring freeway traffic he said, “It’s safe, it’s secure and it’s going to make a big difference for our community. This is going to be the next addition to a great network of non-motorized transportation. It’s really a dream come true for me.”

In addition to the standard photo-ops, smiling dignitaries and obscenely-sized scissors, there will also be a festival with 50+ booths, vendors, music, and all types of fun. And since this is Portland, there are several rides planned to and from the festivities.

Here’s a roundup of what’s going on:

Free Biketown

Biketown will offer a $20 ride credit for all trips within the boundary of NE Multnomah to SE Alder and 9th Ave to MLK.

Free Money

The City of Portland is working with Kuto to give away 1,000 $50 gift cards to anyone that shows up to support local businesses. All you have to do is download their app here.

B on B on the BB – 8:00 am

The wonderful Breakfast on the Bridge folks will kick things off by offering free coffee, donuts and welcoming vibes to all who pass (and are smart enough to stop and pull over). B on B has been slinging caffeine and conversation on Portland bridges for 20 years now and what better way to celebrate this big milestone?! More info here.

AfroVillage Bike Ride – 10:00 am from Biketown Station on NW Broadway and Everett

This ride will begin with a short (walkable) tour of Old Town to highlight Black history and share a hopeful vision for unhoused Black Portlanders. The ride will end at the bridge for the dedication ceremony. More info here.

Milagro Plaza Block Party – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on SE Stark and 6th

The Street Trust and Milagro Theater will host a get together with drinks and music and decorations to get your bike ready for a parade to the bridge.

Hassalo Plaza Block Party – 10:30 am to 3:00 pm Plaza at NE Hassalo and Eighth

Show up for coffee and snacks and get your bike decorated for a parade to the bridge for the opening ceremony. Then afterwards, come back to the plaza for a block party with a live jazz band and free bike repairs.

Aaron Appreciate Ride – 12:00 pm from south side of bridge

Friends of Aaron Proton Tarfman will meet and ride together to remember his life. Aaron was an ardent activist who wanted to live in a city free of cars. He would have been so excited to bike on this bridge! More info here.

Official Opening Ceremony – 12:00 to 12:30 pm at South Plaza

Hear remarks from Mr. Blumenauer himself, as well as PBOT Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty before they unveil the bronze plaque and cut the ribbon.

Bridge Architecture and Design Tour – 1:00 pm at North Plaza

If you are an urban planning and/or architecture nerd, you won’t want to miss this tour. Led by members of the design team, they’ll regale you with stories about the bridge design and its context in the urban setting.

Official PBOT Celebration Bike Ride – 1:30 to 3:30 at North Plaza

Learn everything you need to know about the future Green Loop on this 8-mile ride led by the City of Portland. More info here.

Depave Block Party – 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm at SE 7th and Sandy

As Taylor reported in her recap of the Complete Sandy Ride last week, Depave is planning a major green street project at the expansive SE Sandy/7th/Washington intersection. Come learn about what’s in store and take over your public space. There will be food, vendors, games, live music, and more. More info here.


Let us know if we missed anything and I’m happy to add it. And stay tuned for coverage from the opening.

View of the bridge from northeast looking southwest. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
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Hotrodder
Hotrodder
2 months ago

I tried it out on Sunday. I’m sure it will be a big hit, but for my needs, 20th, 28th or 52/53rd are much better conduits when I want to be with my friends in the South.

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago
Reply to  Hotrodder

The barriers are down and we can ride it now?

Hotrodder
Hotrodder
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

The barriers are not hardened at all. Super-easy to slip through the breach on either side,

soren
soren
2 months ago
Reply to  Hotrodder

As someone who commutes to an area near the north side of the BB, 12th is more convenient because it connects well to bike infra and avoids unnecessary elevation gain. (I can do repeats on Tabor if I want elevation gain.)

dwk
dwk
2 months ago
Reply to  soren

This is an E-bike blog now, who cares about elevation, just use the motor.

soren
soren
2 months ago
Reply to  dwk

I’m not concerned about the e-bike content but I am concerned how there seems to be increasing disdain for utilitarian cycling and — goddess forbid — commuting. Having biked on a daily basis in Portland for 22 years# the empty bike routes, rampant road rage, ubiquitous glass/debris/leaves, and casual blocking of bike facilities is worse than it’s ever been. It’s time to take the rose colored glasses off WFHers, non-working folk, and non-utilitarian riders. It’s time to admit that cycling in Portland is in serious trouble.

# almost never for fun.

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago
Reply to  soren

You forgot rampant bike theft. That is one of the biggest barriers to utilitarian cycling in the city right now. You can’t use a bike that is currently being stripped for parts down on 33rd.

soren
soren
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

For ~19 years in PDX nearly every trip to a grocery store was by bike. After having had parts removed from my parked bike at the 82nd and Powell Winco, I now either park my bike a block or two away (a real pain when hauling a lot of groceries) or drive my used EV with a recycled lithium battery.

ivan
ivan
2 months ago

OK, it’s not on the day of the opening, but I think it’s worth mentioning the Aug. 3 ride to Blumenauer Bridge dressed as Earl Blumenauer 🙂

https://www.shift2bikes.org/calendar/event-15482

Katherine Ana
Katherine Ana
2 months ago

Where is a map?

Racer X
Racer X
2 months ago

Its great that this important network link is finally done (soon)!
…BUT aesthetically its so sad that the design powers that be needed so much fencing mesh…it looks like a hideous ‘cattle factory chute’ or “prison gangway’ from the viewpoint of the approaching bridge customer (BikePortland photo)…totally ruins the graceful bridge arch way aesthetic…at least it is not structural to the bridge form (and can be removed by more enlighten department staff someday)…[I hope this was discussed and shown in the project renderings to the community]

David Raboin
2 months ago
Reply to  Racer X

Got to keep the motorists safe from brick-throwing maniacs. It’s sad that they can’t come up with a prettier solution.

qqq
qqq
2 months ago
Reply to  Racer X

To partially answer your question, it does look like the renderings showed the tall fencing pretty accurately: https://bikeportland.org/2019/10/31/earl-blumenauer-bridge-will-break-ground-next-week-306991

The top photo above looks like a telephoto view that compresses the perspective, so hopefully the fencing when actually experienced won’t feel as solid and enclosed.

Catie Gould (Contributor)
Catie
2 months ago
Reply to  Racer X

I’m worried there isn’t enough fencing! I went there a few days ago, and my first thought was how easy it looked to climb.

David Raboin
2 months ago

When one looks at the east side of Portland, between The Willamette and 82nd, what are the only remaining areas that aren’t thriving? It’s The Lloyd District, Sandy Boulevard, and Powell; the places in Portland where automobile planning ran amuck and all remnants of the streetcar way of life were plowed under. As a rule, in East Portland, where you see parking lots, you see decay and falling tax revenue. Everywhere else is blossoming. I don’t mean to paper over the equity issues and lack of affordable housing, but on a strictly tax and revenue basis, it’s obvious that walkable and bikeable neighborhoods are the economic drivers of this city as well as being the places where people prefer to live.

A cynical, surface-level reading of the new Blumenauer Bridge says that this is a bridge to nowhere. It connects the Llyod District, a 60s-era car-centric wasteland, to the warehouses of the industrial inner-eastside. Who needs this bike bridge? The Llyod District is a place to suffer through, not a destination. But maybe there’s a grander vision? Perhaps the BB will act like a skin graft on the most wounded part of our city. Lloyd looks as good as dead, but maybe this bridge will stimulate some blood flow and the healing can begin?

ivan
ivan
2 months ago
Reply to  David Raboin

But maybe there’s a grander vision?

It is, it’s called the Green Loop. I feel like it’s been pretty regularly covered here.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago
Reply to  David Raboin

This is always the case, David. Bike/ped infrastructure is shoehorned into any place where it won’t inconvenience the car and truck traffic – you know, the really IMPORTANT traffic. The traditional flat route, via Sullivan’s Gulch, from Portland to the east was given over long ago to trains, cars, and trucks – there’s no room for anyone else there. Hence structures like the BB to take bikes and peds over that traffic.

It’s great that Earl is getting a bridge named after him, which he deserves after a lifetime of cycling advocacy, but let’s not mistake it for a quantum leap in cycling improvement in Portland. That will come only when some of our CRUCIAL transportation infrastructure is TAKEN AWAY from cars and trucks and given exclusively to human-powered transportation. There’s currently almost no place cars and trucks can’t go but almost no place bikes and peds CAN go. This situation needs to be rebalanced and ultimately reversed.

soren
soren
2 months ago
Reply to  David Raboin

But maybe there’s a grander vision?

Definitely a grander vision of increased real estate investor profits and the meager indirect flow of this largess into city coffers via property taxes.

Meanwhile human beings die on our streets due to lack of shelter, ubiquitous traffic violence, and the stupid USAnian unwillingness to control access to firearms. Portland is not burning due to protest but rather due to the boiling frog decay of our shared humanity that is a natural consequence of “free”-market capitalism.

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago

I’m not going to consider this “open” until they do something about 7th south of the bridge. If you head south currently, you are met with stop sign after stop sign. Crossing Stark during busy hours is next to impossible, and then you get dumped onto the door zone bike lanes on the busy section of 7th. SUVs spilling into the bike lane, terrible asphalt condition. What is the plan here, because it is definitely not working.

maxD
maxD
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

It is not much better heading north. There are bike lanes across Broadway (though cars were parked in the lanes at 2 locations last evening) but after that you are just on the street with cars impatiently tailgating you.

broMan
broMan
1 month ago

Barriers are down. Rode it this morning (7/27), shaving 4 minutes off my ‘short route’ commute from SE to St. Johns. Very happy with this connection. Way better than navigating the Grand Ave overpass. Beware of the thick tri-bump strip separating the bike/ped zones, however. I’m certain someone will wipe out on it.