PORTLAND -- City Commissioner Steve Novick has declared an emergency to ensure immediate construction of a suicide-prevention fence on Portland's Vista Bridge.

In just the first six months of 2013, three people have jumped to their deaths from the bridge, matching the highest rate from any recent year, Novick said.

Unfortunately, this beautiful and elegant bridge has been known as 'Suicide Bridge' since its construction in the 1920s, said Novick. It is time--past time--to stop the dying.

A 9-foot-tall mesh screen will be on the historic bridge as a temporary remedy until funding for a more permanent solution can be found, said Diane Dulken of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

To deter climbing, the barrier is designed with a tight weave and a curved overhang, she said. It will be installed along the inside of the railing and can be removed at any time with no permanent impact on the structure, in keeping with the bridge s designation as a National Historic Landmark.

Construction is set to begin within days and take about two weeks.

City code states that a commissioner can declare an emergency when public safety is endangered.

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