Vista Bridge suicides: 'You're not supposed to see stuff like that'

PORTLAND, Ore. - A 15-year-old girl was the latest to take her own life by jumping off the Vista Bridge and for a couple that works nearby, what's happening has got to stop.

The 120-foot tall Vista Bridge is in the Goose Hollow neighborhood of Southwest Portland. Jefferson Street and the MAX tracks are below.

On Wednesday, a teenage girl jumped off the bridge and ended her life. Bonnie and Ken Kahn work just below the bridge and have seen people make that final decision all too often.

"You're not supposed to see stuff like that," said Ken. "When the first suicide happened, it was really a moment of disbelief. I was walking back from court, just coming up Jefferson Street, and there were police cars surrounding this area."

"This is the second teenager this year," said Bonnie.

The Kahns are pushing for change. They are part of a group that is pushing the city to build barriers to prevent others from jumping. They are also organizing volunteers to walk the bridge both ways to make someone stop and think.

"It puts a pause in that moment when they're making that decision," said Ken. "Any time you put a pause that causes reflection, it prevents a death. Life is overwhelming sometimes, but within us there is always a spirit to live."

The Kahns are using Facebook to organize volunteers to walk the bridge. As far as constructing barriers, that's going to be a little more difficult. The mayor's office said Mayor Charlie Hales supports the idea, but it's a matter of finding the money - it'll cost more than a couple of million dollars. The city is looking into a way to pay for it, including federal grant money.