Meet the Sellwood Bridge

WHAT: The Sellwood Bridge, built in 1925 and rebuilt in 2016

FUN FACT: Even before the 1925 Sellwood Bridge, vehicles could cross the river at that site by taking a ferry. The free ferry service was created in the 1880s to help make Sellwood more desirable to home buyers, and it operated for about four decades until the bridge was built.

Unlike Seattle, Portland no longer has any commuter ferries in operation. But who knows — if traffic gets too much worse, maybe the Sellwood Ferry will make a comeback.

WHY IT’S SPECIAL: TBH, the original Sellwood Bridge was a lesson in how not to build a bridge. The structure was hastily constructed in less than a year, and by the early 2000s, it had become one of the most structurally unsound bridges in the country — so bad that TriMet buses were rerouted to avoid it.

Thankfully, the county learned from its mistake and spent five years and about $317.5 million building the new Sellwood Bridge, which opened in 2016 as the most earthquake-resistant vehicle bridge in Portland. So hooray for that. 🙌

AND THE #SELLWOODBRIDGE INSTA-GRAMMY GOES TO… @weinbagel, for finding us a silver lining in last month’s smoke.

QUOTABLE: “It’s a very visible, tangible, community improvement that will outlast all of us if all goes according to plan.” —Ian Cannon, Multnomah County’s Sellwood Bridge program manager

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.