7 votes

Burnside Bridge


Burnside Bridge

Photo taken by Michael Goff on July 8, 2008


BH Photo #117049

Street Views 


Strauss bascule lift bridge over Willamette River on Burnside Bridge
Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon
Open to traffic
Future prospects
At risk for demolition and replacement!
Built 1926
- Booth & Pomeroy, Inc. of Portland, Oregon (Superstructure Contractor)
- Gustav Lindenthal of Brno, Cisleithania, Austro-Hungarian Empire (Now known as Brno, South Moravia, Czech Republic) (Lead Engineer)
- Hedrick & Kremers (Designer)
- Joseph Strauss (Bascule Engineer) [also known as Strauss Bascule Bridge Co.]
- Pacific Bridge Co. of Portland, Oregon (Substructure Contractor)
Double leaf Strauss style bascule lift
Length of largest span: 266.1 ft.
Total length: 856.0 ft.
Deck width: 67.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 17.3 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 14, 2012
Approximate latitude, longitude
+45.52278, -122.66750   (decimal degrees)
45°31'22" N, 122°40'03" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/525966/5041080 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2010)
Inventory numbers
OR 00511 (Oregon Dept. of Transportation structure number)
NRHP 12000931 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 29858 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 68 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • October 16, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 7, 2020: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge is at risk for demolition and replacement.
  • April 5, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • October 10, 2014: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • July 10, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • September 7, 2010: New Street View added by Michael Goff
  • July 9, 2009: New photo from Michael Goff
  • April 21, 2009: New photos from Michael Goff
  • April 20, 2009: Posted HAER photos
  • July 8, 2008: Updated by Michael Goff
  • July 7, 2008: New photo from Michael Goff

Related Bridges 


  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon - Dwight A. Smith, James B. Norman & Pieter T. Dykman, Oregon Historical Society Press, 1989
  • HAER OR-101 - Burnside Bridge, Spanning Willamette River at Burnside Street, Portland, Multnomah County, OR
  • Bridges of Portland - Ray Bottenberg, Arcadia Publishing, 2007
  • The Portland Bridge Book - Sharon Wood Wortman, Oregon Historical Society Press, 2001
  • Wikipedia - Burnside Bridge
  • Douglas Butler
  • Andrew Raker
  • Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Richard Doody
  • Nathan Holth
  • Geoff Hubbs


Burnside Bridge
Posted August 7, 2020, by Nick Boppel (nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I would be very, very surprised and in fact shocked if Portland actually went and demolished the Burnside Bridge (or any of their other historic bridges, for that matter). I agree with Nathan that Oregon in general and especially Portland have amazing records when it comes to historic bridge preservation. I believe that, with the unfortunate exception of the Sellwood Bridge, Portland has managed to preserve *all* of its historic bridges (the Tilikum Crossing was built new and did not replace a demolished bridge as far as I know).

I am sympathetic to the discussions around the future of the I-5 Bridge, since having a moveable bridge on a primary and busy expressway is definitely not desirable (in fact, I want to say that moveable bridges on the Interstate Highway System might have even been outlawed by AASHTO after the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Alexandria); but all of the downtown bridges definitely have no reason to be demolished, and if additional capacity is needed, should be bypassed or twinned with a bridge of a similar profile and then left in place. California should provide plenty of evidence of the ability of seismic retrofits.

Burnside Bridge
Posted August 7, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I am not real clear on the process they are following because it is my belief that Section 106 has NOT yet been conducted, but would apply to this bridge, YET, this news article is presenting the demolition and replacement of this highly significant historic bridge in the heart of downtown Portland as a preferred option.


The demolition of this bridge, a Joseph Strauss and Gustav Lindenthal masterpiece, would be a horrific scar on Oregon's preservation track record. As one of the core iconic downtown Portland bascule bridges, this would be akin to Pittsburgh demolishing and replacing one of the Three Sisters Bridges. Its ironic when we must consider Pennsylvania showing a greater commitment to preservation than Oregon. Indeed if you read the article the admission is made that rehabilitation (including retrofit for earthquakes) is possible, but apparently being dismissed.

This also raises serious concerns for the future of Portland's other surviving historic bridges. What's next for the scrapyard? The Ross Island Bridge? The nationally significant Broadway Bridge?