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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

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View More Vista Bridge neighbors say fences were a bad idea, consider other solutions

October 31, 2013 | Neighbors who oppose the fences lining Vista Bridge had one thing to say to city officials Thursday: we told you so.

The city installed 9-foot-high suicide-prevention fences on both sides of the historic Vista Bridge in Southwest Portland in August. Since then two people have gone around or over the fencing and threatened to jump, though both came down unharmed.

On Wednesday, police had to cut a hole in the barrier to either provide a way for a suicidal man to get off the edge – which he did not use – or physically intervene if he attempted to jump.

“It’s kind of like, ‘We told you so, and you didn’t listen,’” said Jerry Powell, a resident of the Goose Hollow neighborhood.

The installation of the chain-link fences, a $236,000 temporary solution intended to last five years, was controversial. Residents expressed their support for suicide-prevention measures to City Commissioner Steve Novick, who runs the city’s transportation bureau, at a meeting in July. Two months later, neighbors railed against Novick for hastily pushing the temporary fences through and ruining, they said, the view and look of the bridge. They suggested alternatives like nets or an alarm system.

Had the city moved more slowly and engaged with the neighborhoods, Powell said, the result likely would have looked better and been more effective. The barriers clearly aren’t enough to stop would-be jumpers, he said, and the READ FULL ARTICLE