September 5, 2019

Multnomah County continues to study alternatives for creating a Burnside Bridge that can withstand a major earthquake. The public is encouraged to visit an online open house through October 4th and share input on new information about the study.

The Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project is studying alternatives that would create a resilient Burnside lifeline crossing over the Willamette River in the event of a major earthquake. Over 100 options were studied during this project’s Feasibility Study Phase, including tunnels, ferries and other bridge options. From that study, four bridge alternatives (and a no-build or “do-nothing” option) were recommended for further evaluation, which are:

  • An enhanced seismic retrofit of the existing bridge
  • A replacement movable bridge similar to the existing one
  • A replacement movable bridge with an extended westbound approach from NE Couch St.
  • A replacement bridge with fixed spans (and a taller clearance for river traffic)

Now, the project team is transitioning into another study, called the Environmental Review, which will further study the benefits and drawbacks of the remaining alternatives. At the end of this study, the county will choose which alternative to design and build.

During September 2019, the county is asking the public to review and comment on important elements of the study, including:

  • The bridge alternatives, including a recommendation to drop the fixed bridge alternative from further study due to minimum height requirements and their impacts to the surrounding environment and project cost
  • Street space (or cross sections): how the travel lane widths on the bridge can be designed to best serve people walking, biking, taking transit, and driving in the future
  • Traffic management during construction, including a detour bridge option
  • Evaluation criteria that will help determine a preferred bridge alternative for construction

The public can review information and share input by:

  • Visiting the online open house and survey through October 4th . The open house is offered in English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Vietnamese.
  • Stopping by a project booth at any of the following events:
    • Lloyd Farmers Market (820 NE Holladay St, Portland): Tuesday, 9/10, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    • Portland Saturday Market (2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland): Saturday, 9/14, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    • Portland Saturday Market (2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland): Sunday, 9/15, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    • 16th Ave Farmers Market (1710 NE 16th Ave, Portland): Sunday, 9/22, 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

As the Environmental Review Phase continues, the county will continue to engage the community and gather input. By next summer/fall, the county will share early results of the environmental review and ask the public to weigh in on a preferred alternative.

Located in the heart of downtown and situated on a regionally established lifeline route, an earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge will be critical for emergency response, reuniting families, and helping our community recover after a major earthquake. For more information, visit