PORTLAND -- Despite objections from some Goose Hollow neighbors, Commissioner Steve Novick says there is nothing stopping the city from putting up a nine-foot-tall fence on the Vista Bridge, the span many know as “Suicide Bridge.” “
Once I learned it was legally possible to put up a temporary barrier and the state historical preservation society couldn’t stop us, I decided to move as quickly as I could,” Novick said.
The fence, which will curve at the top to prevent someone from climbing it, will cost $236,000 and should be installed sometime in August. A permanent fence would cost at least $2.5 million, money the city doesn’t currently have.
Four people have jumped off the bridge so far this year. The most recent suicide happened on July 16.
A Goose Hollow neighborhood meeting Thursday was often heated. One man stormed out, cursing at the Commissioner and members of the Goose Hollow Board. Another neighbor appeared upset and decided to leave during her testimony. Most of the meeting was passionate, but civil.
“The reason I live where I live is because of that bridge. It’s a majestic iconic view,” said Goose Hollow neighbor Mary Valeant. She echoed what other critics have said about the neighborhood not being consulted.
“I don’t want anyone else dying, by there are processes, and there are laws in place and we have somehow just gone over those,” Valeant said.
Commissioner Novick responded to the city going ahead with the Vista Bridge barrier without neighborhood feedback.
“Even if we came here first, and people said ‘No, we don’t want the fence’, my conclusion was that we need it to prevent further suicides,” Novick said.