Sellwood Bridge set to close for good; don't miss your chance to say goodbye

The Sellwood Bridge.

Did you know the Sellwood Bridge was built because steam power just wasn't getting it done anymore?

"This also replaced a small steamer that went across the Willamette right here that was carrying towards the end hundreds of pedestrians and vehicles a day, so this was an improvement," Joe Streckert said.

Streckert knows his Bridge City history. He's a guide at Portland Walking Tours and says a ferry used to be the best way for Sellwood residents to get across the river. So they built the Sellwood Bridge in 1925. He also says parts of the old Burnside and Broadway bridges were recycled and used in the construction of the Sellwood.

Streckert says it was the first fixed-span bridge in Portland when it was completed. But that history comes to an end Thursday night when officials close the bridge to traffic.

It's bittersweet for many in this area, including Mark Mochon. He covers about six miles every week with his running club and has crossed this bridge on foot more than 300 times. He's a little sad to see it go.

"I've got a lot of history with it, the last 20 years I've been running over it. So I'm a little nostalgic about seeing it go," Mochon said.

If you'd like to say your goodbyes, there will be a special ceremony on the bridge Thursday night at 7. It will be closed to vehicular traffic, allowing people to walk across it one last time. The new bridge will then open in early March.

Multnomah County released these traffic advisories for anyone traveling in the area.

Motor Vehicles: The posted westbound detour routes during the closure are:

Northbound: Hwy. 99E (McLoughlin Blvd.) to Ross Island Bridge to Hwy. 43

Southbound: Hwy. 99E to Interstate 205 (Abernethy Bridge at Oregon City) to Hwy. 43

Eastbound routes are the reverse.

Travelers should plan their alternate route in advance and expect longer trips during the closure.

Bicyclists and Pedestrians: Bicyclists and pedestrians may prefer the Hawthorne Bridge for the northern detour. The Hawthorne Bridge can be accessed from the Sellwood neighborhood by the Springwater Trail.

More information: Sellwood Bridge: Celebrating the old, welcoming the new

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