Plus, how Portlanders responded to 9/11 in 2001.

🌉 Flashback Friday: Say “hello” to the Fremont Bridge

Plus, how Portlanders responded to 9/11 in 2001.

By Cassie Ruud

It’s Friday.

If you somehow missed our other newsletters this week, like our dissection of why Portland is considering boycotting Texas and yesterday’s tasty round up of food news, then you’re all set with those links. 

Today’s newsletter is bridge-themed, and in the spirit of that, I think you oughta know that Portland got a new bike and pedestrian crossing that connects Flanders Street. And well hi-diddly-ho there, it’s called the Ned Flanders Crossing. 

This is completely appropriate since Simpsons creator Matt Groening grew up here in Stumptown, and a lot of his experiences and inspirations have made their way into the show. 

But without further ado, let’s talk about a different bridge — the Fremont Bridge — and its history, its name, and the importance of art in our city. 

Scroll on down for some more fun bridge facts.  

🌉 Flashback Friday: The Fremont Bridge

Fremont is the second-longest tied-arch bridge in the world. (📸: City of Portland Archives)

WHAT: The Fremont Bridge, completed in 1973 thanks to some heavy lifting.

FUN FACT: The Fremont Bridge’s iconic arch was assembled separately at Swan Island and then transported nearly two miles upstream to be lifted into place. Apparently other bridges have similar genesis stories (here’s a timelapse of one example), but the Fremont was record-setting: at 6,000 tons (or 12 million pounds), it was the heaviest lift in history at the time of its completion.

NOT-SO-FUN FACT: If Portland gets hit by a major earthquake, the Fremont Bridge will probably be knocked out of commission. That’s because the ramps onto and off the bridge are expected to collapse even if the span itself survives.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Hot take — the Fremont Bridge is a reminder that paying taxes allows us to have nice things. The backstory here is that state officials started designing the bridge only a few years after completion of the disastrously ugly Marquam Bridge, and Portlanders made it clear they expected better. So the Portland Art Commission was brought onto the project, and the Fremont’s arch design was born — at an expense to taxpayers that seems totally worth it in hindsight, right?

AND THE FREMONT BRIDGE #INSTAGRAMMY GOES TO… @sandyisservin for capturing this particularly cool shot of the Fremont and its reflection over the Willamette River. 

📸: Courtesy of @sandyisservin

QUOTABLE: “The Fremont Bridge is basically the most expensive piece of art in Portland. I can’t imagine a building that big going up in the middle of the city’s most expensive painting.” —John Hollister, speaking out against a proposed apartment tower that threatened to block some of his neighbors’ views of the Fremont Bridge. (The development was approved in May of 2018.)

Read more about all our city's bridges here.

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💬 Have some nerdy talk at the Rose City Comic Con (Online)

😂 Laugh and cry with comedian Simone McAlonen as she goes through her experience of attending a Christian summer camp from her middle school journals (Old Town Chinatown)

🎶 Let’s groove tonight with Circles Around the Sun and the release of their new LPs (Hosford Abernathy)


💝 Score early holiday gifts from 40+ local artists at Slabtown Outdoor Market (NW Portland-Slabtown)

🎸 Jam out with Velvet Merkin (Online)


🎨 Learn to draw and paint colorful cityscapes with Leah Kohlenberg (Online)


📚 Learn how to download the library on your mobile device with this Multnomah County Library workshop (Online)

📊 Experience how to make data analytics work for you with the Multnomah County Library (Online)

🙋 One more thing … 

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. 

Folks, I’m sure it goes without saying, but it’s honestly staggering to me that tomorrow will mark 20 years since 9/11. I don’t know about you, but this event is definitely bringing up a lot of contemplative feelings that I think I’ll need to sit with a bit longer, especially given recent world events involving our nation.

Here's your reminder to be gentle with yourself tomorrow, call friends and family who were impacted by 9/11 to check in on them, and don’t be afraid to sit with your feelings on what this day means to you and what you’ll do with that meaning. 

If you’re curious about how Portlanders and Oregonians responded back in 2001, I definitely recommend this piece from KGW’s Ashley Korslien about the “Flight For Freedom” where a collective of local business owners banded together to help boost New York’s economy by sending Oregonians to the city to help. 

Upwards of a thousand folks visited the Empire State over the course of 62 flights and wound up marching in the Columbus Day Parade with signs proclaiming “Oregon Loves New York.” 

One of the participants wrote a book about the unifying experience, which you can reserve here

My inbox is open if you are also feeling some deep feelings about this and want to process it together. 💖

That’s all for today, have a good weekend, stay safe, you’ve got this, and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday.

Virtual hugs,

Cassie at Bridgeliner

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