Sellwood Bridge, 1926

Many VPers probably got out last Saturday to watch the Sellwood Bridge move a bit downriver to make way for a new bridge. This 1926 photo shows the bridge when it was only a year old. This view is to the east when most of the Sellwood riverbank was the site of Oregon Woodwork Ltd.

A2009-009.1207 Sellwood Bridge 1926(City of Portland Archives)

7 thoughts on “Sellwood Bridge, 1926

  1. I wonder if there are any plans to reuse the old bridge span? It would be great to see it recycled for future use, as they did with the old Burnside Bridge which now crosses the Sandy River

  2. According to the Sellwood Bridge web site ( “When the new bridge is opened, the old Sellwood Bridge will be made available for re-use at a different location. If the bridge is not relocated, its steel and concrete will be recycled, continuing the cycle of re-use that started when parts of the old Burnside Bridge were used to build the Sellwood Bridge in 1925.”

  3. Yeah the old Burnside Bridge was re-used in three bridges – The Sellwood, Bull Run Bridge and the Sandy River Bridge on Lusted Road, if I am not mistaken. You can still see the nautical-themed truss portals on the Bull Run and Sandy River spans – a nod to the bridge’s original home in the port of Portland.
    Bull Run River Bridge

  4. The trouble is, as you can see from the picture, that it’s not three shorter trusses, but one continuous truss. I don’t know if the truss could be cut in three, and new end elements constructed on each one. The Burnside trusses were shorter, and could be relocated independently. In fact, I think the Burnside trusses were pin-connected trusses, so they could be disassembled into straight beams, and reassembled elsewhere.

    For those reasons, it seems unfortunately unlikely that the Sellwood span will be reused. It would be a huge project to pick it up, put it on a barge and move it. Any location not on the river would be even harder.

  5. Interesting that back when it opened they had those bumper guards in front of the supports to prevent floating debris from running into it. I guess they eventually discovered that it was overkill and got rid of them.

  6. Spiffy – As a young child in the 60’s, we would still see log rafts floating down the Willamette, through downtown. These log rafts were made up of a perimeter of logs chained together to make a floating corral, with the remaining logs floating free inside the corral. There would be a small tug, and a crew of lumbermen on the raft, with spiked boots and hooked poles, moving the raft downriver. That’s a pretty imprecise sort of load to move down the river, to be sure, and those bumper pilings must have been crucial in those days – something for the polemen to push off against if the log raft got too close.

    In the last 50 years, these log rafts have disappeared completely.

    I’m speculating, here, but with the disappearance of the log rafts, the wooden bumpers also must have become unnecessary.

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