One of Portland’s many nicknames is the “Bridge City.” Although we don’t boast the sheer numbers of Pittsburgh, bridges are a big part of how locals get around in this town. We offer a variety of ages of construction (1912-2015), styles (lift, draw, and suspension), and uses (heavy truck, train, or car-free) all largely within our city center. From the elusive St. John’s Bridge all the way up the Willamette River to the Sellwood, there are some great options for exploring neighborhoods and businesses, and getting in touch with the wind and water of our community. No trip to Portland is complete without heading over the river at some point. Even if it’s just to see what’s on the other side.

Listed below from north to South are the 12 bridges of Portland with 3 criteria. 1. How easy it is to ride a bike or walk across the bridge- connecting our very walkable/bikeable downtown with our equally walkable/bikeable east side neighborhoods. 0 means that this bridge is illegal or very unsafe to attempt to be on outside of a car (or freight train). The only exception is if you happen to be coming to town on a particular weekend in August. 3 means that this is a regular bike-commuter route that locals access every day- and is likely accessible from our Waterfront Park downtown, a very popular place to run or ride every day. 2. Central bridges tend to be more accessible to visitors- they are closer to other relevant amenities and can therefore be worked into other adventures with ease. Hardcore bridge fans can go out of their way to access some of our best bridges. 3. The wow factor is simply how cool looking the bridge is.

Walk/bikeability Central Wow factor
St. John’s 2 1 3
Burlington Northern 0 1 1
Fremont 0 1 3
Broadway 2 2 2
Steel 3 3 2
Burnside 2 3 2
Morrison 3 3 2
Hawthorne 3 3 2
Marquam 0 2 1
Tillikum 3 2 3
Ross Island 1 1 1
Sellwood 3 1 3

 

The Hawthorne Bridge on a rare snowy Portland night.

An overview of some of our Southern -central bridges L-R Marquam, Tillikum, and Steel Bridges. Thanks for the lift from Oregon Helicopters.

The Tillikum Crossing in a glorious moment.

An example of a popular poster in the homes of Portlanders. Purchase it here