The options for the rebuild of the Sellwood bridge have been brought down to three. The choices include rehabilitating the current bridge or a new bridge just north or just south between Spokane Street and Sellwood Riverfront Park. The Sellwood Bridge is 82 years old and has not been up to code in a very long time.
One of the main reasons for removing previous options is that the policymakers are trying to save as many homes and businesses as they can. Condo owners on the north and south sides of the bridge attended the recent meeting to ask that they please only consider these three options, and they are now the only ones on the table.
A citizen task force had done some research and made a recommendation, but their suggestion was dropped because it would mean tearing down 12 condos and eight businesses.
The three remaining choices will be studied for impact and cost, estimates are saying $300 mil to $315 mil for all new bridges (north or south) and $270 mil to $400 mil to redo the existing bridge. That money has yet to be raised. Each option would require the condemnation of a couple of homes, not all currently occupied, though the northern option also calls for condemning 56 businesses.
The width of the bridge is also under debate. The wider they go the more intrusive the traffic will become. On the other hand they are trying to plan for emergency vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and even possibly the Portland Streetcar system.
While I agree that it is a good thing that decision makers are listening to those who want to keep their homes and businesses, I hope that they are still keeping in mind what will work best far in the future for traffic and the neighborhood.
Arthur Gregg Sulzberger: 503-221-8330; email@example.com
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