Sunday, November 9, 2008


What struck me about Portland when I first moved here in 1991, were the bridges. I couldn’t believe the many short bridges criss-crossing the Willamette River. Over the years I have fallen in love with these bridges, each one unique and interesting in its own right.

One of my goals with my night photography is to capture all of p-town’s bridges at night. Once in black and white, they are even more luscious and tactile than in person. There’s a heightened quality that transcends the present moment and transports me to an earlier era. You could almost pretend you were in a Bette Davis movie from the 1930s. Try it.

But before I get too woo-woo on you, I also want to present the hard, cold facts about each of these bridges. Today I introduce to you my favorite Portland Bridge, the Steel Bridge.
steel bridge portland oregon

I love this bridge because it’s so practical besides being architecturally the most interesting for me. Built in 1912, replacing the original 1888 structure, the Steel Bridge …is the only double-decked telescoping vertical lift bridge in the world. Imagine that.

Here is more info from Wikipedia: "The Steel Bridge is a through truss, double lift bridge across the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, United States. It carries railroad and bicycle/pedestrian traffic on the lower deck, and the Pacific Highway West No. 1W (former Oregon Route 99W), MAX Light Rail and a vintage streetcar on the upper deck, making it one of the most multimodal in the world".

So you can drive your car onto this bridge, take the MAX train, walk, run, ride your bike across or even ride on the Southern Pacific. Recently, P. and I watched all these forms of transportation take place simultaneously, at night, and it was truly a sight to behold.

Speaking of movies, the Steel Bridge was also recently featured in the film Paranoid Park by local filmmaker Gus van Sant.

Be sure and check back as I review other bridges in town as well as other events and happenings around town, as always, at night.


Rantz said...

I'm loving those pictures - grand, they are.

Nan said...

You take wonderful photos. And the added information about the bridge makes this blog something I am going to be looking forward to on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

I love the new site! Congrats. And I never knew that the steel bridge is the only double-decked telescoping vertical lift bridge in the world. Another outstanding feature of our captivating city.