Morrison Bridge Construction, 1957

Footings for the new Morrison Bridge are being constructed next to the old bridge in this 1957 photo. The view is looking east across the ramp approaches crossing SW 1st Avenue, Front and then Harbor Drive, visible in the distance.

(City of Portland Archives)

16 thoughts on “Morrison Bridge Construction, 1957

  1. I truly enjoy seeing all these vintage photos of my home town. I appreciate the descriptions you include as well.

  2. The second Morrison Bridge, (the one this one finally replaced), was a swing span bridge, just like the first one, and, as I recall, not one my parents liked to drive over…probably because it really wasn’t designed for cars…and the lanes were really narrow. I remember that rickety sound as we drive across the bridge and that’s what always made my dad so nervous. I also remember the opening and closing factor…it seemed to take forever, but it was fun to watch the way it pivoted to open and close.

  3. They run at different angles because the old (second) bridge was still in use when the built the new one. The second Morrison Bridge hit Morrison St at both ends, I believe. When they built the current (third) bridge, they shifted the landing a block north on the west side. In order to have the bridge land on Morrison on the east side, they actually pivoted the then-existing bridge’s eastern-most span on its eastern pier so it landed a block farther south. (Hard to explain without a diagram.) This made way for the landing of the new bridge on Morrison St.

  4. The old (second) bridge wasn’t “straight”, the last span on the west side was angled to the south, I guess in order to meet Morrison (if you look at a map you’ll see the two Morrison streets aren’t parallel).

    You can still see the “landing site” of the old bridge as a lighter-colored spot in the seawall, visible here:

  5. I agree with Dan, Tad. Good catch. I’ve always been interested in ghost buildings (the impression of demolished buildings left on adjacent extant buildings). It never occurred to me that Portland would have ghost bridges.

  6. Thanks guys but I can’t take credit for it… I think I got that from one of the info-posts on the Eastside Esplanade.

  7. I got to Portland in 1964 and for the first 3 or 4 months lived up near 22nd and NE Burnside. I got a job in the Hollywood District. I was quite fond of using the Morrison for most of my daily crossings. It was new, wide, modern and smooth. It was easily accessible from both sides and got you on and off the then called 80N/US 30. I liked using the Ross Island bridge on weekends and used the Burnside bridge when it made sense. I avoided the Hawthorne Bridge at all costs because I couldn’t stand the humming tire noise and the side to side shimmy effect on my car from the metal grid decking. After about 4 months I moved across to SE39th and Belmont and stopped my daily crossings.

  8. @Tad: Actually the old (2nd) Morrison Bridge was straight, as can be seen in this aerial photo. The easternmost span was only angled to the south during construction of the current Morrison Bridge to allow room to build the eastern approaches.

  9. Tad, one thing that was different about the westernmost truss on the old Morrison was that they “truncated” it when they built Harbor Drive. It was originally the same length as the other truss spans but to get enough clearance for Harbor Drive they replaced the half of it over the highway with a concrete overpass leaving it somewhat short and odd-shaped.

  10. Pingback: Rebel Metropolis | The Portland Riverfront that Almost Was

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