Going along with my bridge idea from a few days ago, I bring you what is affectionately referred to as the “Train Bridge”. Its real name is the Northern Pacific Railway Bridge, but everyone refers to it as the Train Bridge.
The neat thing about this bridge is that they converted it in 1989 from a swing arm bridge to a lift bridge. Portland, believe it or not, is a port city despite the fact it is located upriver from the ocean by about 100 miles. With the exception of a couple bridges which have the clearance, most of our bridges must lift for ship traffic. This is one of the reasons why traffic can be a problematic because they will do bridge lifts during rush hour.
A swing arm bridge is exactly as its name applies. The middle span swings open for the traffic instead of lifting. DJ studied the bridges last year as part of science and history, so I know now that this transformation from swing bridge to lift was made in 72 hours as to not disrupt sea and rail traffic.
Because I gave you a shot of the St John’s Bridge as you get on it, I thought I would give you a little better view.
As I was walking down to Cathedral Park (underneath the St John’s Bridge) to get the picture of the second picture of the Train Bridge, I noticed this sign:
The Notice below the big yellow sign is a list of all of the fish you should definitely not eat out of the Willamette River with some words encouraging pregnant women to avoid any and all fish out of the river. The local “joke”, and I do use that word loosely, is that you can pull mutated fish and other creatures out of the Willamette because of all the pollution in it. Between accidental sewage spills and other chemicals that have “accidently” gotten into it, I know I wouldn’t touch that water let alone eat anything caught in it. Look at that second picture again closely. Did you notice the number of fishing boats out there?
The last thing about the river that should be mentioned is that it is affected by the ocean tides. Throw in some “dead heads” as they are called (logs that are drifting around in the river and could damage boats), and you get some interesting finds at low tide.