Meet the Ross Island Bridge

WHAT: The Ross Island Bridge, built in 1926

FUN FACT: The bridge is nearly three-quarters of a mile long, but it’s not very wide — or at least not wide enough for a minivan to pull a U-turn. The driver of a certain Toyota Sienna learned that lesson the hard way earlier this year. We’re just glad the epic fail was caught on camera.

NOT-SO-FUN FACT: The Ross Island Bridge was the site of Portland’s largest Depression-era shantytown, the Happy Hooligans Camp, where hundreds of jobless Portlanders came to live during the early 1930s. The camp had a post office and a commissary, and it even elected its own mayor.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL: While it’s probably true that the Ross Island Bridge “won’t win any beauty pageants,” as Andrew Theen wrote for The O, it sure does move a lot of people around. With more than 60,000 cars crossing it daily, the Ross Island is the busiest non-interstate bridge in Portland — and one of the worst to get caught on during rush hour.

AND THE #ROSSISLANDBRIDGE INSTA-GRAMMY GOES TO… Cheryl McIntosh, because it takes some real work (and some serendipity, apparently) to make the Ross Island look majestic.

QUOTABLE: “It’s such a worker bee of a bridge. It’s solid. It’s utilitarian. It’s very functional.” —Jessie Flynn, a frequent Ross Island commuter

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.