Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pics: Burnside Bridge

Burnside Bridge


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The Burnside Bridge is next up in our hurried, semi-enthusiastic look at downtown Portland bridges. As I said in the last post, I figured I already had a bunch of photos of the bridges downtown, and they're right here if I needed to take more, so putting a post together shouldn't be a big deal.

Burnside Bridge

Also, if I didn't do the post, I'd feel that the bridge project wasn't really and truly complete, and it would bug me and continue to bug me until I finally did it for completeness's sake, so I might as well go ahead and do it now and get it over with. Oh, and not whine and complain about it while I'm doing it, there's an additional thought. I mean, whose bright idea was this, again?

Burnside Bridge

Anyway, I figured a Burnside post shouldn't be a big deal, since I don't really have much of an opinion about it either way. It's fine, I guess. The towers are distinctive, but I've never been able to decide whether they're cool or silly. We're told this is the only bridge in town where they employed an actual architect in the design process, rather than letting "mere" engineers do it all. As always, employing an actual architect made the bridge much more expensive, so there was a big scandal, and the entire Multnomah County commission was recalled over it. It's not a very juicy scandal by political scandal standards, but it's all we've got. Or at least it was one of the rare cases where official misbehavior a.) became public, and b.) something actually happened as a result.

Anyway, walking across is pretty uneventful, which is a good thing unless you need a hook to hang a blog post on, which I do. I did manage to dream up a "not dying" angle, although not a very credible one, so I'll get to it later.

One mildly unique thing about the Burnside, by Portland standards, is that around its west end there are a few parking spaces and meters on the bridge. Not on the part over the water, though. Hey, I said mildly unique, didn't I?

Burnside Bridge

I'm not going to bail completely on trying to be informative, so here are the standard links about the bridge: Multnomah County, Structurae, Bridgehunter, and PortlandBridges.

And, naturally, I have a Flickr photoset about the bridge, with all the photos you see here and much, much more, or not.

One more thing -- the earlier 1894 Burnside Bridge lives on, in a way, and you can walk over it too, or at least parts of it. When the current bridge was built, the old bridge was recycled and became part of at least three other bridges. Some of it became part of the Sellwood; the almost-ready-to-fall-down part, in fact. Other pieces apparently became part of the Lusted Road Bridge and possibly the Ten Eyck Road or "Revenue" Bridge over the Sandy River, as well as the Bull Run River Bridge (none of which I've covered here, at least not so far) There may be others I'm unaware of.

shadows, burnside bridge

The bridge is not to be confused with Burnside's Bridge, a small stone bridge in Maryland that figured in a major Civil War battle. If your friendly neighborhood search engine sent you here while you were looking for Civil War stuff, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place. Sorry. Our bridge isn't even named after the same guy.

Detail, Burnside Bridge

I don't even have any ghost stories this time around. Closest thing is a 2006 page about "Haunted Exhibition", a show at the late, lamented Disjecta art space. Not really the same thing. Surely that other Burnside Bridge has ghosts, or maybe brain-eating Confederate zombies. Woohoo, zombies! Ok, so you might find tweakers hanging around our bridge sometimes, and it's true they strongly resemble zombies in a lot of ways, but as far as I know they don't actually number among the legions of the undead, technically speaking. Not yet, at least.

Esplanade from Burnside Bridge

Maybe that's our creative "not dying" angle this time around: Don't accidentally visit the bridge in Maryland instead, thus falling prey to the ghastly living dead. Yeah, that'll work. Laugh with incredulity if you like; that only goes to show you've never been to Maryland. And don't get me started about Delaware, come to think of it.

shadows, burnside bridge

Detail, Burnside Bridge

Stairs to Esplanade, Burnside Bridge

Detail, Burnside Bridge

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