May 13, 2019

The public is invited to a one-night open house on Wednesday, May 15 from 5 – 8 pm at Portland State University School of Architecture to see an exhibit of student concepts called “Visualizing a New Burnside Bridge.” The event is in Shattuck Hall, Room 235, 1914 SW Park Ave.

As Multnomah County studies alternatives for an earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge, a class of architecture students at Portland State University were asked in the fall of 2018 to develop their own ideas. At the open house, students in PSU’s School of Architecture will share their two and three-dimensional concepts for a Burnside Bridge that can serve us today and after a major earthquake.

PSU architecture students toured the Burnside Bridge before developing new bridge concepts.

PSU Professor Jeff Schnabel asked his class of Master of Architecture students to develop concepts for a real world problem: creating a Burnside Bridge that can survive a major earthquake and provide the region with at least one reliable downtown river crossing.

Students met with members of the Multnomah County Bridge team that are leading the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project. The class donned hardhats to tour the inside and outside of the Burnside Bridge and watched 94-year-old gears turn to open the drawbridge. They developed drawings and models for an earthquake-proof bridge, then presented them to county staff and PSU faculty members in several rounds.

The final concepts on display at “Visualizing a New Burnside Bridge” are big, bold and often “outside of the box.” One bridge has digital art displays that can be converted to emergency messages. Another concept links the bridge to a water taxi system. Another uses scaffolding to support unreinforced masonry buildings near the bridge and cover areas that can be used for a public market or emergency services.

Multnomah County is currently conducting a required environmental review of both new and seismically retrofitted bridge alternatives for an Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge. The concepts to be shown at the PSU open house can help stimulate public discussion about the project leading up to the bridge design phase. Multnomah County Transportation thanks the talented architecture students and faculty at Portland State University for contributing to the public discussion about how our region can prepare for and survive a major earthquake.

KGW News published this story showing examples of the PSU student designs.

For information about the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project, visit:

PSU architecture student Danette Papke explains her concept for an earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge.