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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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The Start of a New Era for the Sellwood Bridge

Sunday Parkways is honored to be able to show off the new and improved Sellwood Bridge for the Sellwood-Milwaukie Sunday Parkways Route. Here is a little peep into its history and the start of a new era.

Removal of Old Sellwood Bridge marks end of an era 

Project Update via Multnomah County - July 5, 2016

SellwoodBridgeAfter 90 years of serving the public, the original Sellwood Bridge will be only a memory in a week’s time. The last steel span of the original bridge is scheduled to be lowered to a barge on July 12.  Removing the old bridge has been one of the most visually interesting parts of the Sellwood project, with many people watching as a familiar landmark slowly disappears.

To understand how the bridge is being deconstructed, it helps to remember its history.

  • The Sellwood Bridge was built in 1925. To save money, the bridge was built as one continuous 1100-foot long four-span truss perched on concrete piers.
  • In January 2013, the steel truss was slid north and attached to temporary steel piers, which allowed the bridge to be open to traffic while the contractor built the new Sellwood Bridge on the same alignment as the original bridge. Traffic continued to use the old bridge in its new location for three years while the new bridge was built.
  • When the new bridge opened on February 29, 2016, the original bridge closed and the contractor began the complicated task of removing the old bridge and its temporary supports.

About the demolition team

Since the old bridge was built as one continuous 1100-foot long span, it could not easily be dismantled and removed in sections. It was also coated in lead-based paint, a known health hazard. A specialized team was assembled to deal with these challenges and get the old bridge safely down.

General contractor Slayden-Sundt and McGee Engineering teamed with Emmert International of Clackamas. Emmert International has moved complicated structures ranging from the Spruce Goose (the gigantic wood airplane built by Howard Hughes, which was delivered to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville) to the Hotel Fairmount in San Antonio (the largest building ever moved on wheels).

A complicated project

In the past (and still in some parts of the world today) old bridges are taken down with explosives. This has not been done in Oregon for decades, for obvious environmental and safety reasons. Instead, the old Sellwood Bridge is being cut into sections and carefully lowered by hydraulic jacks onto a barge, which will minimize impacts to neighbors, nearby structures, fish species and water quality. 

Cutting a thousand-foot-long bridge into sections is not straightforward. Subcontractor Staton Companies began the demolition process by cutting and removing the concrete deck, railings and sidewalk from the old bridge, leaving the green steel skeleton of the truss spans sitting on steel supports. About 2,300 tons (4.6 million pounds) of concrete was removed and recycled as fill material for construction projects.

Strengthening steel was then added to the temporary piers and truss section to counter the forces applied during lowering. Long steel tie-downs were attached to the stub ends of the truss spans to hold the sections in place after the center sections were cut and lowered.

Finally, the cutting began. Workers used oxy-acetylene torches to cut the steel truss span free at each end. The truss span is 28 feet high, so cutting each span section free took at least one day.

The spans were then lowered 50 or 60 feet onto the decks of the barges. The team started lowering each span around dawn and completed the process by evening. Each section weighed between 400,000 and 500,000 pounds and had to be lowered perfectly in unison onto the barge.

Each span was then cut into two or three sections to fit on  separate barges and taken ten miles north to the Schnitzer Steel facility, where they were processed for recycling.

Next steps

The in-water work period begins in July. After the truss spans and steel supports are removed, a marine subcontractor will begin removing the 80 steel piles that supported the temporary bridge. By this fall, there will be no remaining sign of the old bridge. The new Sellwood Bridge will have the view all to itself.


3rd Annual Salmon Celebration at Westmoreland Park

Sunday Parkways Teams up with the Salmon Celebration for the 2nd Year

The Crystal Springs Partnership, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), as well as non-profit and westmorelandbusiness partners invite all to a free, public celebration of Crystal Springs Creek.  We will celebrate the creek as well as the restoration that has helped bring wild salmon back to the city.

The Salmon Celebration coincides with the Sellwood-Milwaukie Sunday Parkways bike ride presented by Kaiser Permanente. Similar to last year’s ride, the route takes us to Westmoreland Park where the Salmon Celebration is held. New for this year, Sunday Parkways takes riders to the City of Milwaukie. Details of the Sunday Parkways ride are here:

The Salmon Celebration will include a Native American blessing, a salmon bake demonstration (with samples!), storytelling for all ages, fun and interactive inter-cultural activities, and ways to learn about and get involved in the watershed.  The event will be free and open to all.  Details of the Salmon Celebration on the Crystal Springs Partnership website are here:

As co-chair of the Crystal Springs Partnership, I am proud to help put on this event. In 2014 we featured the re-opening of Westmoreland Park, Judy Bluehorseincluding the restoration of Crystal Springs Creek and construction of the wildly-popular Nature Play area. In 2015 we continued to celebrate the creek, the ‘new normal’ that is our rejuvenated Westmoreland Park - habitat for both wildlife and people, as well as the constant stream of cyclists of Sunday Parkways enjoying the neighborhoods and parks of Southeast Portland.

This year, we continue to celebrate the restoration of the creek and the importance of this area to many cultures. With the new Bybee and Glenwood culverts in view from Westmoreland Park, we appreciate the investment in natural areas in the city. And, in a route not exactly as a fish would swim, the Sunday Parkway ride takes bikers to Milwaukie, to where Johnson Creek meets the Willamette River – a place familiar to fish migrating to Crystal Springs Creek.

We hope to see you on October 2nd.

Guest Writer: Karl Lee, for the Crystal Springs Partnership 


The Slants Join Sunday Parkways SE

The SlantsPortland's The Slants are the first and only all-Asian American dance rock band in the world. They offer up catchy dance beats, strong hooks, and a bombastic live show that is "not to be missed" (The Westword). The Willamette Week says "While the band may well be best experienced live, Slants releases always promise a few blistering, note-perfect singles." The music is the perfect combination of 80's driven synth pop with hard-hitting indie, floor-filling beats which fans affectionately dub as "Chinatown Dance Rock."

They've been featured on Conan O'Brien's Team Coco, BBC, NPR, NBC, IFC TV, Huffington Post, MTV, and over 1,500 radio stations, tv shows, magazines, and websites across 82 countries. 22 international tours, including appearances in 46 of 50 U.S states, have led to headlining showcases at major festivals such as SXSW, MusicfestNW, San Diego Comic-Con, and Dragon Con. The band has also provided support for The Decemberists, Mindless Self Indulgence, Girl Talk, Apl.De.Ap (of Black Eyed Peas), Blindpilot and Shonen Knife. In 2011, The Slants worked with the Department of Defense for a series of shows at U.S and NATO bases in Eastern Europe, dubbed "Operation Gratitude." Every one of their last 9 music videos have gone viral, gaining tens of thousands of views within days. Their single, "You Make Me Alive" has nearly 350,000 views.

Two recent music videos feature martial arts choreography by Sammo Hung (The Matrix, Ip Man, & Enter the Dragon) and feature international stars Daniel Wu and Shu Qi. They've won "Album of the Year" and "Editor's Choice" from dozens of magazines, including Willamette Week, LA Weekly, Shojo Beat, Village Voice, City Beat, and Rockwired. Whether rocking music halls, anime conventions, maximum-security prisons, colleges, or army bases, it's clear that The Slants' infectious brand of "so damn good" music will leave you wanting more" (MRU Magazine).

We are excited to appear at Sunday Parkways!

Guest Article written by Simon Tam

The Slants 

Interview with a Photographer (NE Sunday Parkways)

The Ride

For every Sunday Parkways this year we are interviewing our Photographer to grasp their unique experience capturing Sunday Parkways. This month we highlight Izzy. Read the full interview below: 

Baby and MeWhat brings you to Sunday Parkways?

I do photography on the side right! It’s a way to develop my photography skills. I was referred to Neal to inquire about a possibility to be a photographer for Sunday Parkways.  Not only could I develop photography skills, but also bike skills. It’s not something that I did before and it was super fun. In retrospect that are things that I would do different, as I learned a lot of things I can do and shouldn’t do with my camera.

So you are our photographer?! What do you like about taking photos?

For me personally, it’s a really good outlet for creative or art that exists in me. The way I am able to capture a moment or a feeling. It’s an easy way to have a artistic outlet. It’s a way for me to dabble on the art side of things. I do finance for work. I really like telling a story through art.

What made you interested in this bike event?

This was the first time which was why it was pretty challenging. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I usually do banquets and event photography, so folks BIKETOWNare not as mobile. It is different, but fun.

Had you been to Sunday Parkways before you came to this event?

It was my first Sunday Parkways with a camera. It was a great day. It was a lot of fun, and every spot that I made it to was like I was in a different city almost. The parks (are located) so far from what I need or what I do, so I rarely get on that side of town, so it was great to have that side of town blocked off so I could explore it by bike.

What did you think of Sunday Parkways?

I have gone to other Sunday Parkways, but I have never done the full route! I was at a wedding once, and the friend’s wedding was on the route – so we joined Sunday Parkways from the wedding!

HappyHow did you get around during Sunday Parkways?

I followed the route and was on my bike! There was a lot of people that I was unintentionally riding with. We ended up riding and following the route together.

Why do you think Sunday Parkways is important to the City?

Something that I noticed is that it’s a lot of families, it’s a lot of children. While I did see some children/folks playing pokemon go, but overall it was nice to see people outdoor together with their families. Vendors had interactive ways to interact with Sunday Parkways.

It’s a great way to know your city. A lot of the streets that were blocked, I wouldn’t be able to go there on my bike if it wasn’t for Sunday parkways.

What brought you to Portland?

I moved to Portland in 2007. I graduated from college and I quickly outgrew the small town I was living in. I moved to Le Grande, Oregon from Mexico when I was 16. My sister started a restaurant in there and asked me to come up here and help her out. Well, I was from a small town where we didn’t have all the amenities we have here. So it was hard to go back, because I knew there was nothing there for me. My sister’s only sponsor request was that I go to school if I stay. After graduating from high school in Le Grande, a really small town of 15,000 – 12,000 people, I knew I wasn’t going to just work at the small town taco bell there. My goal was to go to Seattle, but I visited Portland, and stayed here. I got a job after 2 weeks, and a place to live and everything worked out great. If people ask me where I am from, I say Portland. Portland is my home.


Bright Spots in NE Portland!

Locations and Descriptions

K Park

Heart of Woodlawn (NE Dekum & Durham)

  • People and families coming together for fun and a stronger community.

St. Andrews Catholic Church (southwest corner of NE Alberta St. & 9th Ave)

  • Welcoming and inclusive for persons of every life situation.

Our 42nd Avenue (northeast corner of NE Alberta Ct. & 42nd Ave)

  • Nurturing business development by the community, for the community.

Living Cully (Khunamokwst Park)

  • Community development that creates economic, ecological and social benefits for Cully residents.

Simpson Street Farm (4800 NE Simpson St)

  • City farm in the heart of Cully growing food for farmers markets and restaurants in NE Portland.

Leaven Community (Alberta Park on NE 19th Ave between Ainsworth St. & Jarrett St.)

  • Home of the NE Portland Tool Library, Kitchen Share and a whole lot more.

To learn more visit the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability page here.