Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bridges

Previous post: Portland from My Window

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but once today’s keynote speaker, Sharon Wood Wortman pointed it out, I realized that Portland definitely is a city of bridges. I can see six right from my hotel room window.

So this evening I am joining her and a large group of colleagues on a tour of the Morrison Bridge, which spans the Willamette River not too far from our hotel.

It is a gorgeous evening, with the sun just beginning to set.

From the bridge we have a good view along the river toward the weird towers that let light into the convention center.

I learned this afternoon that the Morrison Bridge is a double leaf bascule bridge, which means it separates in the center to allow each side to swing upward.

We actually get to go INSIDE the bridge to learn about it’s operation and view the giant counterweights. However, I’m far more fascinated by the giant, well-greased gears (more than 30’ high) and the seemingly too-tiny 100 horsepower motor that makes the bridge move.

Back outside, night has fallen, but we have one more treat left – we get to see the bridge in operation.

The waiting cars honk at us as we walk around in front of them, peering at and under the raised span of roadway.

Perhaps they are jealous.

At any rate, the bridge doesn’t begin its descent until the honking ceases, which I think is a very fine thing.

Next post: Gallery Hopping

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