Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People

Since June 2011, I (and probably 600,000 other Portland residents:) have been watching the construction of an awesome new bridge that will carry light rail, streetcar, cyclists, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles (but no private vehicles) across the Willamette River.

incomplete tilikum crossing(November 2013, before it was connected in the middle)

Since April of this year when it was decided, I–and the 600,000 other people–have been able to call that bridge by its real name, Tilikum Crossing. “Tilikum,” according to Wikipedia, being a Chinook work that means people, tribe, or family.

Yesterday, I got a pretty awesome view of that bridge from the new OHSU/PSU building on the South Waterfront:

Tilikum Crossing

Even though it’s still not slated to be open until fall of 2015, they’ve already got some bike lanes painted on and everything. So psyched for this bridge!! :)

The new OHSU/PSU building (the Collaborative Life Sciences Building, or the CLSB, as I’ve fondly come to know it) that opened to the public yesterday is also pretty rad. James has been spending a lot of time there for work lately–so much so that he was the first person to get to use the new bike staples they just put in:

first long haul trucker(the first ever bike to be locked to the first-ever staple racks at the CLSB!)

Just to give you an idea of what’s in that building, check out this chair–the best damn view you will ever get while someone tightens your braces:

CLSB orthodontics(12th-story orthodontia. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see all the mountains!)

Anyway. Sometimes it’s crazy to think of all this change in Portland–new bridges, new building, new houses, giant condos, new businesses, new streetscapes. Even though it’s been gradual since I’ve lived here, when I think back, I know that the Portland that people move to now is way, way different than the Portland I moved to thirteen years ago.

Mostly, I think it’s change for the better. Things like the Tilikum Crossing, which will drastically extend the reach of public transit and offer another option to relieve the crazy masses of cyclists and pedestrians who currently use the Hawthorne Bridge–those things are great. More density is great. My little, somewhat-reclusive self doesn’t necessarily like the huge influx of more people, but I do appreciate the things that come from bigger cities–things like better transit, more diversity, great public libraries, all the services that are harder to provide when there are fewer people more spread out.

On the other hand, I sometimes wonder when Portland will get too big for its britches, if there’s a tipping point after which it will be too crowded and too expensive and too gosh-darn trendy for me to want to be here anymore. Or perhaps I’ll just grows along with it, change my person along with the changes of my chosen city.

I’ve never consciously chosen to live somewhere other than Portland, so I don’t know how that all plays out. For now, I’m pretty psyched.

One Comment:

  1. I prefer the name Lisa Simpson People’s Bridge. I’m sticking with that!

    I am slowly concluding that I don’t like the design of this bridge. The white cables are a designer’s conceit that are good at accentuate the engineering idea but they they are visually noisy. They obscure the beautiful Portland skyline.

    But, ignore my grumblings. I look forward to what this bridge will do for transportation in the city!

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