Like a bridge over troubled waters …

That dirty ole’ Willamette really is an inconvenience. Here’s to the structures that allow us to ignore the filthy creek and ease our minds. Sail on, silver girl.

The Hawthorne Bridge

As seen in: “The Hunted”

Facts: Finished in 1910, this is Portland’s oldest surviving highway bridge, a lift bridge, and is one of the oldest surviving lift bridges in the world, according to

By far the most beloved and scenic bridge downtown, the Hawthorne is a cyclist-dreamy, pedal-filled fantasy. When this thing closed for repairs in 1998-1999, I saw hippies writing “good bye, Hawthorne, get well soon” on it’s sidewalks. I mean, really. Tommy Lee Jones broke Benicio Del Toro’s arm on the Hawthorne, and that in itself is breathtaking.

The Broadway Bridge

As seen in: “Drugstore Cowboy” and “Kurt and Courtney”

Facts: Finished in 1913, this drawbridge marks the transition of Broadway from north-south (west side) to east-west (east side). The Broadway Bridge is a unique double-leaf bascule span construction, 1,736 feet long, and was designed by Ralph Modjeski.


A little underrated, I think, due to its edge-of-downtown location. This thing is red. I’ve lived here six years and have probably been on the Broadway Bridge maybe 25 times. Look for future exposure with the snooty emergence of the Pearl District and plans for a baseball stadium near its eastern end.

Ross Island Bridge

As seen in: “8 Mile”

Facts: Designed by Gustav Lindenthal, a world-famous and veteran bridge designer, after a scandal in the 1920s that also involved the Burnside Bridge and Sellwood Bridge, which were constructed at roughly the same time.

This beast looks straight out of Detroit, and that is not good. This is the Insane Clown Posse of bridges. Have you ever tried to get on this contraption from the west side? It’s damn-near impossible. Ever tried to walk across it? I’d rather stroll down the I-5.


Is this the same Ross that allows us to “dress for less”? The only scandal linked to Ross Island Bridge is Portland getting stuck with it.