[/caption] The Fremont bridge was the longest arch bridge of its type in the world until a bigger arch bridge was opened in China in 2004. However, it’s still the second longest bridge of its type in the world. The bridge is 381 feet above the water level and its main span length is 1,255 feet. It was opened in 1973 and is a Steel Three-span half-through tied arch with orthotropic steel upper deck and Steel box girder approach spans. The view while crossing the bridge offers the best views of the city when looking south. Unfortunately, no pedestrians or bicycles are allowed on the bridge since there aren’t any sidewalks. The bridge has two decks with south bound and north bound travelers separated by each of the decks. Peregrine Falcon nests are located on different parts of the bridge.
[/caption] The Morrison Bridge was once a wooden truss swing span bridge that opened in 1887 and was the first Willamette River bridge in Portland and the longest bridge west of the Mississippi. The second Morrison Bridge was built in 1905 and wasn’t designed for automobiles so the bridge was again redesigned in 1958 in order to accommodate automobiles. The Morrison Bridge is a draw bridge and has three steel deck truss spans with one double-leaf bascule movable main span and two fixed side spans. the main span length is 284 feet with its total length at 760 feet and is 69 feet above the water line at its center length. Pedestrians and bicycles are allowed on the bridge and it serves as a major commuting tool for pedestrians. The two towers on the south side of the bridge resemble old fashioned airport control towers. There are several great views of the city if you are walking over the bridge. You have great views of downtown Portland or of old town Portland on the north side and the Lloyd district on the east side of the river.
[/caption] The Burnside Bridge was originally opened in 1894 and it was a slow-opening swing-span bridge. The newer bridge was opened in 1926 and was constructed as a Three steel deck truss spans with one double-leaf Strauss bascule movable main span and two fixed side spans. The main span length is 252 feet and the height above the water is 64 feet. It’s the only Willamette River bridge in Portland that was designed with input from an architect. This led to the Italian Renaissance towers and decorative metal railings. However, the two towers were only built on the south side of the bridge and this photo was taken from the north side. Street cars crossed the bridge until 1950 but now it’s used by automobiles, pedestrians and bicycles. It a great bridge to walk across and the Burnside skatepark is located underneath the bridge on the east side of the river. Some of city’s best views are from the south walkway of the bridge.
[/caption] Portland’s Steel Bridge was opened in 1912 but its precursor was built in 1888. This bridge is the only double-deck vertical lift bridge of its type in the world and it’s one of the most multimodal in the world. It has three steel double-deck truss spans and two fixed side spans. The lower deck of the lift span was built for trains and may be lifted independently, telescoping into trusses of the upper deck that was built for street railways, pedestrians, automobiles and horse-powered vehicles. Eventually, the light rail train travels over the upper deck and pedestrians and the Union Pacific Railroad use the lower deck. However, both decks may be lifted together. This makes it one of the most amazing and spectacular bridges in the world. An it’s hard to imagine that it was built in 1912. Its main span length is 211 feet and the center height above water is 72 feet. The Steel Bridge is what most people use to cross the Willamette river when they are jogging, walking or bicycling around the city. There are also several Osprey or Hawks that can be seen resting on the tops of the bridge. This photo was taken from the east side of the river with parts of downtown Portland in the picture.
[/caption] The Hawthorne Bridge was first opened in 1910 but it’s precursors were built in 1891 and 1900. It’s the oldest vertical lift bridge in operation in the United States as well as the oldest highway bridge in Portland. It’s also the busiest bicycle and transit bridge in Portland. However, sometimes having one of the oldest bridges can come with some baggage since it can be raised as many as 200 times per month. The bridge is only 49 feet above the river and even less during spring runoff. The Hawthorne bridge was one of the first vertical lift bridges built and is now the oldest of its kind surviving in the United States. The bridge literally lifts straight up unlike a drawbridge. It’s an awesome thing to watch and bridge buffs will stare in awe as it slowly climbs towards the sky. The vertical lift is 110 feet and the horizontal clearance is 230 feet. Some of the best city views can be seen while walking or biking across. There are several great views of the bridge but the most photographed spot is from the east side of the Willamette river. You can choose the best views from either the south or north side of the bridge. They’re both awesome and I’ve spent hours taking pictures of the city with the Hawthorne included.
[/caption] The St. Johns bridge is the Willamette Valley’s only major suspension bridge but at the time of its opening in 1931 it had the longest span of any suspension bridge west of Detroit’s Ambassador bridge. the main span length is 1,207 feet and the tower height is 400 feet above the water. The St. Johns is also the tallest bridge in Portland. There is pedestrian access for both joggers and bicycles and you have a pretty nice view of the Port of Portland and downtown Portland at about the mid point of the bridge. It’s worth making the walk and make sure to bring your camera and tripod. You can get a good view of the bridge from either side of the river. Forest Park, on the west side, has several vantage points and the St. Johns neighborhood, on the east side of the river has great views from the park. You also have a good chance of seeing Osprey, bald eagle or Hawks near the bridge.
[/caption] The Broadway bridge was the longest double-leaf bascule drawbridge in the world when it opened in 1913. It is a “rolling” lift span and has one of the most complicated and rarest opening methods of any movable bridge type anywhere else in the world. Now that the city of Portland is almost done extending the max line train service over the bridge, it will allow pedestrians to travel over the bridge without needing their automobile. The Broadway also offers one of the best views of Portland when standing or walking on the north side of the bridge. There is ample room to walk, jog or ride your bike and there are staircases that allow pedestrians to climb down in order to avoid the automobile congestion on either end. This photo was taken from the east side of the Willamette river and the buildings seen here are of the Pearl district. You can make the loop around the waterfront and the Broadway bridge is the northern most bridge that connects the loop system. You may catch an Osprey or Hawk standing on the top of the bridge or flying under or over it. You can also see snow caped Mt. Hood on a sunny day.
[/caption] Portland is one of the World’s best bridge cities and the cities core is defined by one or more rivers crossed by bridges. Only a few other cities from around the world have as many spectacular bridges as Portland. It’s almost impossible to take a photo of downtown Portland without trying to include at least one of it’s bridges. However, it’s also hard to choose between them since they all are so spectacular and photogenic. This photo was taken just below the Burnside bridge with the Morrison in the distance. I was standing just north of the Burnside bridge and saw this great photo opportunity. The best viewing area is along the east side of the Willamette river along the esplanade that will take you past 8 bridges and provide you with access on either side of the river. However, there are several more bridges, from as far north as the Suavie Island bridge and as far south as the Oregon City bridge. All are worthy of a quick visit since they all have some historical value to them that only select cities can match. You can also watch as several Osprey and Hawks fly over the river and sometimes land on the arches or steal beams high atop the bridges.