PORTLAND, Ore. — Rep. Earl Blumenauer, long known for his advocacy of riding bicycles for fun, exercise and commuting, took a tour this week of Portland's new pedestrian and bike bridge with his name on it.
For Rep. Blumenauer, the project was a long time coming.
"For me it's a realization of a vision that goes back 30 years when I was the director of public works for the city of Portland," said Blumenauer on Monday.
Even as workers put the finishing touches on the bridge, Blumenauer talked with project leaders and others while walking the 475-foot long, 24-foot-wide bridge just days before it opened.
The $19 million project by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) started in late 2019 and faced long delays. Getting the Blumenauer Bridge in place required a major shutdown of Interstate 84.
Now, it's ready to connect the Central Eastside to the Lloyd District and beyond.
“This makes a seismic-safe, emergency response ready and everyday car-free comfortable connection,” said PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera.
The new bridge is built to withstand a major earthquake and to handle emergency vehicle traffic if needed.
“And as you can find out from the men and women who did this, it was not easy; when you're going over a freeway, light rail or the train and contending with some slope and design issues, but it's worth it,” said Blumenauer.
Blumenauer said the bridge is a move in the right direction for Portland.
"The notion of being able to connect the Central East Side with the Lloyd just made so much sense.”
PBOT said it will start construction this coming week on two projects that will connect to the Blumenauer Bridge.
The Northeast Couch/Rose Lane Project will improve TriMet bus service in the area, and the Northeast/Southeast 7th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway Project will create a new bike connection in the area. Construction is expected to run through August.