Saturday, June 29, 2013

Whilamut Passage Bridge Opening Celebration

Rendering of the Whilamut Passage Bridge

The Oregon Department of Transportation invites everyone to take part in two upcoming events commemorating the opening of the new northbound Interstate 5 Whilamut Passage Bridge. One will be the official opening ceremony presided by Congressman Peter DeFazio. The other is a community celebration and bridge walk.

Family-friendly and fun for all ages, both events will take place in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park and will include brief presentations, project information and walking tours of the new northbound bridge. 

I’m particularly looking forward to these events because of my past connection to the project. I was a member of the “Design Enhancement Panel” whose role it was to ensure that aesthetic design details for the new Willamette River Bridge and surrounding area were interpreted in a cohesive way. 

Ultimately, ODOT selected three design enhancements for installation adjacent to I-5 north and south of the bridge, and two design enhancements for the north bank of the Willamette River under the Canoe Canal Bridge and in the Whilamut Natural Area west of I-5. The enhancements focus on elements of the Kalapuya culture and efforts to restore native vegetation in the Whilamut Natural Area. I may be mistaken but I don’t believe the design enhancements have yet been fully executed. 

Here are details about the opening ceremony and community celebration events: 

Opening ceremony with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio: 10 AM, Friday, July 26.

Community celebration and bridge walk: 11 AM – 2 PM, Saturday, August 3. A brief ceremony will start at 11:30 AM Saturday.

Celebrations will be held north of the Knickerbocker Bridge in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park.

ODOT encourages attendees for both occasions to use alternate modes of transportation. There are nearby bus stops and many bicycle and pedestrian routes to the natural area. Senior and disabled parking will be located in Lot 9 off of Leo Harris Parkway. A courtesy shuttle will transport those from the senior and disabled parking area to the event site.

For more information: Nichole Hayward, Public Involvement Coordinator, (541) 484-7052

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