Plus, your suggested playlists for me.

🚂 Flashback Friday: The Railroad Bridge

Plus, your suggested playlists for me.

By Cassie Ruud

Portland, we made it to Friday. 

If you’re not caught up on the news of the week like what the heck pumpkin spice chicken wings taste like, a timeline of what happened to Portland’s elk statue, and the latest food news from Stumptown — then you’re good to go with those links. 

Today we’re throwing it back with a feature on the Railroad Bridge from Bridgeliner’s archives — and we’re looking into why it’s such a unique part of Portland’s landscape and its history here in the Rose City. 

Scroll on for more. 

Meet the Railroad Bridge

Courtesy of Library of Congress

WHAT: The Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge, built in 1908 and rebuilt in 1989

FUN FACT: The original Railroad Bridge swung open around a central “pedestal” — and ships had a heck of a time avoiding it. The worst collision happened 40-odd years ago, when a Norwegian freighter sideswiped the bridge on its way into Portland, inflicting more than $3 million worth of damage.

You could blame the bridge’s architect for leaving such a narrow passing channel, but it’s worth noting that the very same ship had struck the West Seattle Bridge on its maiden voyage four weeks earlier. And almost immediately after bumping into the Railroad Bridge, it also managed to scrape against the Fremont Bridge, completing a dubious trifecta. 

WHY IT’S SPECIAL: The Railroad Bridge doesn’t get a ton of love these days (Willamette Week called it a “secret” for a reason), but the original structure was an engineering marvel for its time. The behemoth weighed nearly 8 million pounds, and as The Oregonian proudly proclaimed in 1908, it was the longest bridge of its kind in the world.

The Railroad Bridge might now be less famous than its neighbors to the north (the St. Johns) and south (the Fremont) however it is the sole rail-only bridge and closed to the public, and it continues to stay busy, carrying 30+ trains across it every day.

QUOTABLE: “I crossed the bridge for the first time in January, and boated under it in June. Both times I was struck by its isolation and industrial-age beauty, like something out of Detroit-ruin porn tucked into the industrial fringes of the city.” – Martin Cizmar for Willamette Week in 2017

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🤗 Come learn about a new way to engage with others and yourself in a positive way, and learn to stop engaging with negative behaviors with this informative workshop (Online)

💖Join Relationship Freedom to discuss the complexities of dating during COVID (Online)


🎵 Join Music Quest on Mondays for music and laughter with this regular livestream (Online)

☕ Connect with the Leadership Lab over their weekly coffee date Zoom meeting (Online)


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💼 Join Rational Unicorn Legal Services for a panel discussion among eclectic local nonprofit leaders about nonprofit law and compliance, programming, best practices, and tips for emerging nonprofits (Online)


🐇 Oregon Humane Society is hosting a one-day vaccine clinic to help protect owned rabbits in Oregon from Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus — come get your bunnies vaccinated (Schedule in advance)

🎒 Go backpacking without breaking the bank with this helpful workshop (Online)


🔮 Learn about the sacredness behind death with Raven’s Wing in their Death Cafe and Salon (Sellwood)

🤘 Watch H is for Hector perform at the Garages Satellite Pub (Beaverton) (Beaverton)

Friday, October 22

✂️ Create beautiful pine needle baskets with Village Gallery of Arts (Downtown)

Sunday, October 24

🎶 Get cruising on the Willamette with some ‘80s and ‘90s jams (Spirit of Portland)

🐈 Join the Oregon Humane Society for this Purr-fect-ly Howl-a-ween Event: A Benefit For the Cat Adoption Team (Online)

🙋 One more thing … 

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. 

And double thank yous to Brian C. and Nancy V. for helping to break me out of my song time loop with some really lovely suggestions. 

Brian recommended checking out “Glee’s” version of “Paradise By The Dashboard Light (which I’m definitely listening to at the moment, thank you Brian), as well as “Fuzzbubble” for myself and my fellow Monkees’ fans. 

Nancy came in clutch with some old school suggestions (John Prine, specifically “Angel from Montgomery” and his last release, “I Remember Everything), as well as a bit of new school with “Freedom” by Jon Batiste, “Midnight in Harlem” by Tedeschi Trucks Band, and “Feel Good” by Mondo Cozmo. 

Thank you both so much for sending these along — I’m always keen to get new music. 

Sidebar shoutout to Bridgeliner Unabridged member Daniel K. who also correctly guessed this week's PDX trivia (you've got a weekend guide coming your way soon, buddy).

That’s all for today, have a good weekend, stay warm, stay dry, and see you here on Tuesday.

Virtual hugs,

Cassie at Bridgeliner

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