Multnomah Falls bridge closed: 'A lot of people will be disappointed'

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE - Engineers inspected the Benson Bridge at Multnomah Falls on Friday to assess the damage after a rock fell on it and took out a chunk of the bridge's deck.

Stan Hinatsu, a spokesman for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, told KATU, the good news is there didn't seem to be damage to the arch structure of the bridge. Still, if they can't come up with a short-term fix, it may be Memorial Day before repairs are complete.

The rock fell onto the bridge Wednesday night, and it's unsafe for visitors.

Ryan Race was visiting the falls on Thursday when he saw the area roped off. He described the hole as "probably a good three feet across. Definitely a body could fall through there easily."

Hinatsu said the closure could be lengthy.

"I don't see this bridge being repaired in the next couple of months by any means," he said, adding that the design process and fundraising will add even more time.

Hinatsu doesn't think the bridge will be ready in time for tourist season, saying, "certainly a lot of people will be disappointed; this is one of the iconic features in the gorge."