Meet the Marquam Bridge

WHAT: The Marquam Bridge, built in 1966

FUN FACT: The bridge is named after a dude who “defrauded the county” by skimping on his taxes. Or it’s named after a gulch that is named after a dude who defrauded the county by skimping on his taxes. Depends who you ask. One thing is for sure: It pays to be rich.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL: From a functional perspective, the Marquam Bridge does its job, carrying 140,000 cars into and out of the city every day. But let’s be real — when it comes to aesthetics, the Marquam is the bridge locals love to hate. “It lacks soul and beauty,” Tom Hallman Jr. wrote for The O. “The only time motorists linger on the double-deck bridge is during a traffic jam.”

The bridge’s design drew so many complaints in the ‘60s that state officials decided to bring in the Portland Art Commission to help design the city’s next span, the Fremont Bridge. Can you tell the difference? 😉

AND THE #MARQUAMBRIDGE INSTA-GRAMMY GOES TO… @pt.nicholas, for finding a way to make the Marquam look good.

QUOTABLE: “It’s like having the Berlin Wall dividing east and west, with all the subtle charm of the Daytona 500 smack dab in the middle of our city.” -Former Portland mayor Vera Katz, a long-time opponent of urban freeway expansion

Flashback Friday is a weekly-ish series featuring people and events that shaped our city, and we’re binging on bridges right now. Read more about all our city’s bridges here.