Plus, vote for the Final Four in our brewery bracket.

🌉 Flashback Friday: The St. Johns Bridge

Plus, vote for the Final Four in our brewery bracket.

By Cassie Ruud

It’s Friday.

And we’re taking a moment to flashback to one of Portland’s only suspension bridges and in our opinion, it's prettiest. 

But before you get to that, if you haven’t caught the news of the week — like how this PDX chef taught Nicholas Cage to cook for an upcoming film, our Weird Wednesday interview with local artist and ventriloquist Winnie McDonald (and her puppet Skeeter), or our Ultimate Portland Brewery Bracket and how you can vote in it — then follow those links. 

And now the “suspense” is over — or is it just beginning? 😉

Enough bad puns, let’s talk shop about this bridge.

🌉 Suspended in time: The St. Johns Bridge

The bridge’s architect called it "a prayer in steel." Whatever that means, we have to agree. 🙏(📸: City of Portland Archives)

WHAT: The St. Johns Bridge — Portland’s only suspension bridge and, objectively, one of the most magnificent in the country.

FUN FACTS: The bridge was named after James John, a ferry operator and founder of the St. Johns community in north Portland, who also was one of the first people to trek the California Trail. The bridge landed in the national spotlight in 2015 when Greenpeace activists dangled from it for two days to prevent a Shell barge carrying drilling equipment from heading to the Arctic.

The bridge was designed by American architect David Barnard Steinman, who designed well over 400 bridges in his lifetime. (Editor’s note: Including the Mackinac Bridge that connects the “mitten” of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula across the Great Lakes, and that your editor would travel across nearly every single summer to see her grandparents.)

WHY IT’S SO SPECIAL: When it was built nearly 90 years ago, the St. Johns’ Gothic spires and distinctive design were about more than functionality. As historian Dell Upton put it: “The great suspension bridges of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fed a national sense of self” — and St. Johns architect David Barnard Steinman seemed to have that in mind. “Every bridge should be designed with the guiding and impelling thought to achieve beauty,” Steinman wrote. “Strength, utility and beauty must be combined. To these may be added a modern requirement — efficiency.”

THE #STJOHNSBRIDGE INSTA-PULITZER GOES TOBrett Becklund, for a black-and-white gem that shows off the bridge in its true Gothic majesty.

QUOTABLE: “Yes, the St. Johns Bridge is my best poem — a prayer in steel.” —David Barnard Steinman.

Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members. Stories like these are made possible with your membership and support.

💸 A quick math lesson 

Talking about money and math is hard.

But the simple math is this: We send this newsletter to thousands of people every day and about half open it. But only 1.48 percent of our readers pay for it. 

Maybe you’re thinking, “OK, then just charge everybody like Netflix.” And that makes sense in a business school kind of way. 

In reality, we know that not everyone can pay, and we believe in providing news literacy for free. But that model depends on the members of this community helping to lift us all up. If you can afford to pay $8 a month (that’s two lattes!) to ensure your neighbors can keep waking up to Bridgeliner, we hope that you’ll become a member.

📰 Meet our staff at Bridgeliner

Editor & Writer 

Cassie Ruud

Sales & Advertising

Ben Chaffee


🐈 Hang out with Boris the very bald cat for a livestream playdate (Online)


💪 Train yourself in outdoor education and playscapes with the PDX Early Educators Support Group (Online)


🌿 Go for an herb walk and learn all about edible and medicinal plants of the PNW (Online)


🎭 Trust us — “It’s Going to Be Okay” free comedy night at the EastBurn Public House (Kerns)

🍎 Get a jumpstart on your health with this 10-day nutrition-tracking course with Foundation Fitness & Nutrition (Online)


🎨 Paint some watercolor birds with Salty Water Art (Online)


🐶 Attend a dog-friendly happy hour benefitting PAW Team for more than just good prices(Hopworks Urban Brewery on Powell — SE Portland )

🖌️ Paint the Willamette Valley in gorgeous shades of lavender with artist Kimberly Chai (Online)


🕯️ Learn five ways to build your own resilience with Adventist Health (Online)

🙋 One more thing …

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. 

(🎨: Bridgeliner illustration) 

If you haven’t voted for the Final Four in our Ultimate PDX Brewery Bracket yet, then what are you doing? You can cast your votes for which local brewery deserves the title of Ultimate here. Not sure who to vote for? Send this newsletter along to a fellow brewery fan!

That’s all for today, have a fun weekend and I’ll see you here next Tuesday. 

Virtual hugs,

Cassie at Bridgeliner

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