New Burnside Bridge Open House

A new earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge will look dramatically different than today’s 94-year-old bridge. The public is invited to learn about bridge types being considered for the new bridge and share their views at an online open house through Sunday, February 21.

A new Long Span bridge has been recommended as the preferred alternative by the project’s Community Task Force. The preferred alternative was supported by 88% of the public who took a survey in 2020. The Task Force recently recommended a range of bridge types be evaluated before one is recommended this spring. Bridge types need to be selected for the center movable span and the adjoining approach spans that will touch down on the east and west sides of the Willamette River:

• The movable span can be either a bascule design like the current Burnside Bridge or a vertical lift drawbridge like the Hawthorne Bridge.

• The east approach span (the longest at around 650 feet) can be either a tied arch (like the Fremont Bridge), cable supported (like the Tilikum Crossing) or a truss (like the Hawthorne Bridge).

• On the west approach span (at approximately 425 feet), the same three types being considered for the east span are possible, plus a girder design that would not require a superstructure above the bridge deck.

The Task Force also developed evaluation criteria that will be used to compare the options before a selection is made.

The online open house has renderings showing how the different bridge types would look, in various span combinations. Multnomah County’s first 360 video also shows how the different types would look, superimposed in the setting of today’s bridge. Viewers can shift the screen view 360 degrees using their computer mouse, moving their cell phone or wearing a VR headset.

After learning about the bridge types and evaluation criteria, open house attendees can share their preferences and other considerations. The public can also attend a webinar on Wednesday, February 3 from 5 – 6 pm where members of the project team will describe the bridge types and answer questions. The webinar will be held over Zoom and livestreamed on YouTube. Questions can only be submitted during the event. Information on how to participate is on the project website.

Multnomah County in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration will publish the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the next few weeks. Once published, there will be a 45-day public comment period. Comments can be made through the project website, email, voicemail, and in-person by appointment. A news release will provide full details when the Draft EIS is published.

Multnomah County maintains the Burnside Bridge and leads the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project. The current environmental review phase should be completed in late 2021. Design work will begin in 2022 and construction could start in 2024, pending funding. For project information including a link to the bridge type open house, visit

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