By Bryan Dorr
Jun. 22, 2008, 7:59 PM PDT
SAUVIE ISLAND – An estimated 500 local residents and visitors, plus vendors and dignitaries gathered on the new bridge’s north span to dedicate the new $42 million Sauvie Island Bridge, which replaces the 1950-built span crossing over Multnomah Channel a few feet downstream.
The ceremony kicked off at noon with an introduction from Multnomah County Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey.
Oregon Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps presented their music after the commissioner’s introduction.
Amongst the dedication speakers were Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson, Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, Oregon Department of Transportation Region One Manager Jason Tell, David Evans from David Evans and Associates, and Max Kuney from Max Keuney General Contractors.
A woman near the stage fainted during Tell’s speech.
EMTs participating in the ceremony and the parade rushed to the fainted woman to give aid.
A voice announced over the loudspeaker announced the woman is fine, prompting the crowd to cheer and applaud for the fainting woman’s recovery and for the EMTs who quickly responded to give aid.
Rev. Russ Richardson from the Sauvie Island Church gave the blessing of the bridge.
Pillip Archambault gave the Native American blessing of the bridge.
Commissioner Rojo de Steffey had the honors to cut the yellow ribbon with the symbolic large pair of scissors.
A lone man on a horseback rode across the bridge started the first crossing of the bridge parade.
The intermittently sounding siren Sauvie Island Fire Station engine followed the horse rider across the new span.
Residents of Sauvie Island who resided before the 1950 bridge was built, known as The “Pre-Bridgers,” drove their vehicles first across the new bridge.
The new bridge is capable of handling heavier loads from the industrial agriculture traffic, but the new bridge is also a two-lane bridge with wider lanes, bike lanes and wider sidewalks.
Multnomah County says the new bridge opens to traffic on Monday, June 23, 2008.