PORTLAND, Ore. — After two and a half years of construction, the Blumenauer Bridge has an opening date. Portlanders eager to take their first stroll or ride across the new bike and pedestrian crossing can do so on July 31.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced the official debut date Wednesday, along with plans for a formal ceremony, pop-up parties and local vendors along nearby streets and community-led bike rides.
The $13.7 million crossing is named for U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a longtime cycling advocate, who will speak at the ceremony along with Portland commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees PBOT.
The bridge spans Sullivan's Gulch at Northeast 7th Avenue, crossing Interstate 84 and a Union Pacific Railway line to connect the Lloyd District and the Central Eastside. It will have a 10-foot-wide pedestrian path and a 14-foot-wide bike path.
The crossing is car-free, although it's built to be seismically resilient and able to carry emergency vehicles as a backup route if a major earthquake renders other nearby bridges unusable, according to PBOT's webpage for the project.
The bridge is also a key piece of Portland's Green Loop, a six-mile "linear park" envisioned in the Central City 2035 plan that would circle through downtown and the Central Eastside.
The bridge was prefabricated offsite and assembled on a two-block stretch of 7th Avenue to the south of the crossing location. In October 2021, crews closed the freeway for an overnight operation to slide the bridge into place atop a temporary support tower, which was later removed after the bridge's arch was completed.
Construction began in November 2019, and the bridge was originally scheduled to be installed across the freeway in the summer of 2020 and be completed in the spring of 2021, but there were multiple delays along the way.
The installation across the freeway was at one point rescheduled for the summer of 2021, but difficulties in coordinating the operation with the Oregon Department of Transportation and Union Pacific forced PBOT to push the timing back again, eventually settling on October.