I Heart Bridges

Happy Valentine’s Day! In the spirit of the holiday I wanted to send a little extra love to our bridges.

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Many cities near and dear to me have a plethora of bridges. Portland, Oregon, has the nickname “Bridge City” due to all of its bridges (including St. John’s Bridge, pictured). Twelve bridges cross the Willamette, and you can bike across all twelve in the popular Bridge Pedal. Chicago has over 30 bridges with 18 bridges just around the Loop. And of course there’s Seattle, boasting the world’s longest floating bridge, the dramatically high Aurora Bridge and the small and low Fremont Bridge (which locals say opens whenever there’s more than three cars that need to go either direction). I even cross a bridge every day to get to work.

Bridges are not only some of the less-thought-of historic resources, they’re also tricky ones. As safety is paramount, they go through routine maintenance and upgrades. More and more, it seems, are due to be replaced. So take a look around this year and send a little appreciation to your favorite bridges.

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I recently took a trip to see St. John’s Bridge in north Portland. There was a bitterly cold wind off the Willamette and the sidewalks were coating in gravel left from Portland’s recent snow storms. Nothing, however, could detract from the beautiful green Gothic spans. As I drove away, a snowy Mount Saint Helens was framed perfectly under the tall green arches.

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Preservationists have latched on to Valentine’s Day as a chance to show support and advocate for historic buildings and spaces. Keep your eye out for heart bombing events and have a great Valentine’s Day!

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