Sellwood Funding Coming Together?

The Multnomah County Commission is getting read to add $19 to your auto registration fee and apparently Clackamas County will follow with $5.

Coupled with the City of Portland diverting some of the increase in gas tax revenue it will see from the Legislature’s transportation package, will this be enough to get the Sellwood Bridge replaced?


21 responses to “Sellwood Funding Coming Together?”

  1. Maybe the “secured” funding for the south light rail bridge should be diverted to a Sellwood replacement considering the Sellwood is of a much higher priority and will undoubtably serve many more people.

    And please don’t tell me it cant be done… money from highway projects are diverted into transit all the time (think Mt. Hood Freeway for a large example).

    If not, I hope to see a 19 bike registration as well, since the new Sellwood bridge will have almost half of its surface dedicated to bikes.

  2. The Mercury piece reports that the LPA for bike lanes is only 6.5 feet in each direction, or 13 feet total. Each motor vehicle lane is 12 feet. It’s the pedestrian walkways which are relatively wide at 12 feet each.

    There was some talk about maintaining weight restrictions on commercial vehicles. Does anyone have any current info on that?

  3. Better not count on all that extra money yet.

    I hear there is another signature gathering campaign just starting.

    So the rational thing. Take the LRT money and use it for something useful that people will actually use – ta 4/6 lane Selwood bridge.


  4. “money from highway projects are diverted into transit all the time (think Mt. Hood Freeway for a large example).”

    Maybe in the 1970s; federal law no longer allows those types of transfers.

  5. Jim,

    Don’t you care what the neighborhood thinks? They simply don’t want that much traffic coming through, nor do they want the property takes that would be necessary to accommodate a 4-6 lane street through their neighborhood.

  6. DE Says: Don’t you care what the neighborhood thinks? They simply don’t want that much traffic coming through,
    JK It would make it more vibrant. Don’t planners like vibrant?

    Perhaps you mad a good case for just closing the current bridge and building a new on to the south.

    Here is a radical idea:
    Force Metro to allow building homes where the jobs are, instead of building houses in Damascus while the jobs are in Beaverton.

  7. I live in Sellwood and don’t think we need a four to six lane bridge. Neither do I see a need to completely replace the bridge. The low rating of the Sellwood Bridge is due to a number of factors, not just the structural integrity or condition of it. There are other bridges in Portland that have been constructed with similar metal trusses. Are they “ready to fall down” too? If so, then this city has major problems. The Morrison bridge, with six lanes, is constructed very similar to the Sellwood, with only two lanes.
    Both of them, like the 6 lane Burnside and the 4 lane Ross Island also, have a comparable truss running down each side.

    Jim Howell has suggested accomodating bicyclists and pedestrians below the roadway, an area that could be lighted. I have a hard time imagining someone is going to attack a person speeding by on a bicycle, anyway. There are substantial steel cross beams under the roadway which could probably be extended to support walkways, as was done with the Hawthorne Bridge. There are also several hundred tons of unnecessary concrete in the present bridge. The outdated and recycled approaches should be replaced with something new, but I don’t think the central structure is any worse than any other, similar metal truss bridges.

  8. I tend to agree with Jim that a more regionally useful bridge in a more convenient (for regional traffic) location might be preferable to a functional replacement for the Sellwood Bridge. Where such a thing might go is another matter… there’s really no good place to cross the river between the current location and the Ross Island Bridge (I’m assuming that building a bridge over Ross Island, even if it provides no access below, is a no-go). Of course, such a bridge would need to be multi-modal, but that would include cars.

    Regarding the latter sentence–there’s nothing Metro doing preventing the building of homes in Beaverton. All of the city limits of Beaverton are inside the UGB, and Metro does not set maximum densities there. Now, zoning laws in Beaverton may be an issue–but there is quite a bit of buildable land still in town.

    Of course, if what Jim is proposing is allowing Beaverton to expand beyond its current boundaries into the surrounding farmland (i.e. to the southern face of Cooper Mountain west of Murrayhill), that’s another matter.

    The reason much of Damascus was tarteged for growth is that it’s already of limited agricultural use, largely due to the supply of half-acre suburban lots. But southwest of Beaverton is some prime (and still very productive) farmland.

  9. Scotty:

    A large portion (if not a majority) of Sellwood Bridge users are headed to Clackamas County, if you wanted to put the bridge in a more convenient place for its users, you’d put it somewhere south of the current bridge, not north.

  10. Which is why I suggested (in another thread), condemning Waverly and building the bridge right in the middle of the fairway. It’s a perfect location–traffic from 99E/224 can cross south of Sellwood, and still connect to the four-lane stretch of OR43.

    It’s also convenient for future rail traffic as well.


  11. Just going by the map, SE Oak Grove Boulevard looks like a great place for a bridge. It goes all the way to the river, and could connect to Oswego Pointe Drive on the other side, leading to a connection to A Avenue and North State Street (Hwy 43) in Lake Oswego.

    That would probably require some road widening, and might require the condemnation of one building (depending on the bridge approach on the west side).

    I bet a bridge lined up with SE Courtney Avenue and SW Terwilliger Boulevard would work too. It would mean some road work on the east side (“Courtney” doesn’t go all the way through) but might be done without knocking out any homes at all.

    But good luck getting any new bridge past the affected neighborhoods. The neighbors would scream bloody murder and I wouldn’t blame them. If someone proposed turning the lightly used residential street in front of my home into the major east-west arterial for that part of the county …. you better believe I’d be out for blood.

  12. Maybe the best bet would be to run the bridge to Oswego Creek, angle left over the dam and then a viaduct 20 feet above the water the length of Oswego Lake coming out at Twin Fir, immediately tunneling directly under the P&W and nearby residences and coming out onto Kruse Way. We could make the whole thing an extension of 217.

    It might sound a wee bit extravagant, but it has at least as much chance as anything that would put east side to Washington County traffic onto downtown LO streets.

  13. Re: Added traffic to Hwy 43 because of a Lake Oswego Bridge.

    Many of the people who want to travel into that region west of Lake Oswego from the east side are likely to travel on Hwy 43 somewhere anyway. It’s the shortest route! What are they going to do otherwise—head up on a long route through the hills. From Taylor’s Fy Rd south there is no major turn off from Hwy 43 until you get into the city limits of Lake Oswego. Traffic crossing in Oregon City?—well I guess they could take some other routes if they are going west—avoiding Lake Oswego. And with a new bridge those people might still go that way.

    What it would do is shave several miles off each direction for people going from the Oak Grove/Mt Scott area to Lake Oswego and points west. And many people would prefer to take the I-205 route out to I-5 or 217, because it would be faster. Like I said (elsewhere) there could be a tunnel, then westward, under Lake Oswego re-emerging out towards Boones Ferry Rd. for the westbound traffic. The net increase on surface Hwy 43 traffic would be more due to economic exchange bewteen the two sides of the River.

    I know Lake Oswego stakeholders and residents close to Oak Grove Bv. would put up a fuss–but it would be beneficial overall and cut out a lot of auto miles.

  14. There was a Metro streetcar extension table at LO’s farmers’ market yesterday where a staff member reported that an east-west HCT line through LO had the best prospects of all non-radial corridors (i.e. not going into Portland from the suburbs). It’s a “tier 2” corridor, but maybe the most likely of that group.

    It’s precisely because there is no auto bridge close by that transit has a decent shot.

  15. “So the rational thing. Take the LRT money and use it for something useful that people will actually use – ta 4/6 lane Selwood bridge.”
    “Maybe in the 1970s; federal law no longer allows those types of transfers.”
    ~~>See post:the pockets song.

    They got plenty of money, they just don’t want to spend it on this so they raise the taxes. Classic government

  16. Something to consider.. where this bridge goes will affect the commerce and livibility of the surrounding community for decades to come. There inevitably will be winners and losers regardless of the decision. When the St Johns alignment was decided, it ultimately set the neighborhood up for high volumes of commuter traffic,mostly cutting through SJ for Vancouver and east if I-5. The neighborhood also gets a lot of hazmat trucking through residential areas. Did the folks in 1929 think about this uninteded consequence? Probably not. We live with it today.

    Rexamining the alignment of the Sellwood would set in motion a whole new set of responses to bridge traffic. The cost of the bridge would probably be dwarfed by the other costs,born by government and private citizens alike. Maintaining the current alignment would probably be the best course,simply because it would be the least disruptive. A larger bridge would be out of the question,but only if it can be engineered to not create a huge division in the surrounding neighborhoods. A 5-lane behemouth like Foster Rd does not belong in a residential or mixed commercial district.

  17. oops.. preview before post..

    A larger bridge would be NOT out of the question,but only if it can be engineered to not create a huge division in the surrounding neighborhoods.

  18. “So the rational thing. Take the LRT money and use it for something useful that people will actually use – ta 4/6 lane Selwood bridge.”

    Where do those lanes go to? Do we just widen Tacoma all the way to 99E? There’s enough ROW for a 4 lane road, but with no turning lanes, which as I understand it leads to more congestion than a 2+turning (3 lane) configuration.

    The only place it seems another bridge could be taken across the river between the Sellwood and Oregon City without really screwing up the neighborhoods would be south of LO from around Marylhurst College to SE Concord Rd. I doubt that would serve much purpose, so any major project to serve that area would end up either costing a ton (due to tunneling) or be shot down due to community opposition, if not both.

  19. “Community opposition” does not shoot down a project. It is up to the vote of officials. The only way it could is if they successfully sued to stop it. Lake Oswego should not be so hysterical and inflexible. It is quite possible to design an attractive bridge, using a little imagination (like the Bybee bridge over McLoughlin) and there are a number of benefits. This would also provide a critical route for transit. There are a number of suggestions—I was pointing out the shortest, least expensive crossing. North, at Courtney RD, requires a huge leap over the flat lands on the east bank of the Willamette. South, at Marylhurst, means that traffic heading anywhere but south would need to get on Hwy 43. In the center (if they can have a tunnel) at least would get westbound traffic off Hwy 43, and the other connections are within a half mile.

  20. “Community opposition”, maybe not.

    “Well connected wealthy rich white NIMBY opposition”, on the other hand, is frequently fatal to any sort of public works project.

  21. Certain types of well-to-do NIMBY might not be so bad. Why could not the Lake Oswego streetcar continue to be just the quaint diesel-pushed trolley—just more of them than it is now? With clanging bells, too, for historic character. I can understand the fear of Dunthorpe residents that some soused Third and Burnside denizen might hop a non fare inspected ride out to Dunthorpe and start sleeping under the laurel hedge. What next? Maybe there would be several concrete, metal and etched glass stations right in the heart of Riverside SD…. destroying the reclaimed rustic atmosphere.

    BTW, just an idea for express buses. How about a slightly higher fare for express non-stop service between town centers?

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