The Darlene Hooley Bridge which connects the Lair Hill neighborhood to the Willamette River and South Waterfront District is now open!
The construction of Interstate 5 in the early 1960s as an urban renewal effort effectively isolated the Lair Hill neighborhood from the Willamette River. It’s only a short distance from Lair Hill to South Waterfront, but cyclists and pedestrians traveling to and from the two have had to negotiate I-5 and other high traffic areas.
After Saturday, instead of making a circuitous, unpleasant one-mile-plus trip, cyclists and pedestrians can now ride or walk over the freeway on the span of the new bridge. The official name of the bridge is the U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley Pedestrian Bridge at Gibbs Street. The bridge is named for the retired U.S. representative who was instrumental in securing funding for the bridge and pushing the project through.
The bridge was supposed to be built at the same time as the Portland Aerial Tram, but was delayed because of tram cost overruns. The span runs 700 feet from SW Moody Avenue in the east to SW Kelly Street in the west, curving around the tram tower as it goes. It’s estimated that there will be anywhere between 400 to 800 bicycle and pedestrian trips per day.