Portland Loves Its Bridges. Here’s What Makes Them Special.

Portland is a city of bridges, and boy, do those bridges have a lot of history.

We dug into the archives to learn more about all 12 Portland bridges across the Willamette, from the majestic St. Johns (“a prayer in steel”) to the gritty Steel Bridge (“It’s no Empire State Building, but it’s ours”).

Here’s what we learned about our city’s iconic spans. Enjoy!

Meet the St. Johns Bridge

The St. Johns Bridge is Portland’s only suspension bridge and one of the most magnificent in the country.

Meet the Railroad Bridge

Meet the Fremont Bridge

The Fremont Bridge was completed in 1973 and was a recordsetting 12 million pounds, the heaviest lift in history at the time of its completion.

Meet the Broadway Bridge

The Broadway bridge is only one of three Rall-bascule bridges left in the entire country. Here’s why that makes this bridge special.

Meet the Steel Bridge

Every year tons of bicyclists cross this bridge, which is also known as the last operational “telescoping vertical-lift bridge” in the U.S.

Meet the Burnside Bridge

The Burnside Bridge was the first Willamette River bridge in Portland to be designed with the help of an architect.

Meet the Morrison Bridge

When the original Morrison Bridge opened in 1887, it was the city’s first span across the Willamette River and the longest bridge west of the Mississippi.

Meet the Hawthorne Bridge

Did you know an epic chase scene in a Benicio Del Toro movie involved his character jumping off the Hawthorne Bridge into the Willamette River?

Meet the Marquam Bridge

Built in 1966, the Marquam Bridge received so many complaints about its ugly design, that it inspired the construction of a more beautiful Portland bridge.

Meet Tilikum Crossing

Tilikum Crossing is the first major bridge in the country for cyclists, pedestrians, and public transit but not cars. Tilikum roughly translates to “Bridge of the People.”

Meet the Ross Island Bridge

The Ross Island is the busiest non-interstate bridge in Portland — and one of the worst to get caught on during rush hour.

Meet the Sellwood Bridge

The Sellwood Bridge was hastily constructed in less than a year, and before it was rebuilt in 2016, it was one of the most structurally unsound bridges in the country.