August 8, 2023

Multnomah County is pleased to announce the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project will receive $20 million in state funding through House Bill 5030, which the Oregon Legislature passed June 25. Governor Tina Kotek signed the bill into law on August 4. 

House Bill 5030 authorizes the issuance of $453 million in lottery revenue bonds for a variety of projects, including $20 million for the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project. The $20 million will go toward construction of the new Burnside Bridge.  

“We are thrilled to receive this state funding,” Project Manager Megan Neill said. “It helps build momentum for the project and validates the importance of investing in the resiliency of our transportation system.”

As of right now, none of downtown Portland’s Willamette River bridges will be immediately usable after a major earthquake. Multnomah County is leading an effort to replace the current Burnside Bridge with one that can withstand a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake. It’s one of the largest earthquake resilience projects in Oregon. 

“Multnomah County’s Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project is more than a bridge – it’s an investment in the infrastructure our region will need to save lives and recover from the devastation we anticipate in the wake of this natural disaster,” Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson said. “This bridge will be a lifeline at the exact moment we need it, reuniting families, connecting people to critical services, and helping us begin the long process of recovery and rebuilding. And this seismically resilient bridge will connect our community from east to west for the next 100+ years.”  

Leveraging Funding

The County thus far has been successful in securing multiple sources of funding in an effort to raise $895 million for the project. To date, the County and local partners have already committed to funding $300 million for the project, through the local vehicle registration fee. The County is actively pursuing various grants and other funding opportunities at the local, state and federal levels to fully fund the project.

The County is also actively pursuing federal grants from the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. On August 3, 2023 the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved the project’s Notice of Intent to apply for $447 million from the FY 2023-2024 USDOT Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant (MPDG) Program. The County will be submitting the grant application this month. The funding would go toward the project’s Construction Phase. 

The $20 million from the Oregon Legislature will leverage federal dollars. In August 2022, EQRB received a federal $5 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) Planning Grant. This marked the project’s first successful federal funding award. 

Next Steps

The County recently selected HDR Inc. as the lead consultant for the Design Phase. The project team will be selecting a Construction Manager/General Contractor this fall.