County explores earthquake reinforcement options for Burnside Bridge

This image from a simulation released by Multnomah County shows what the Burnside Bridge will look like after a major earthquake. (Multnomah County)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Multnomah County leaders are asking for the public’s input about plans to ensure one of the major bridges does not collapse when a massive earthquake rocks Portland.

The county plans to focus reinforcement plans on the Burnside Bridge. The bridge connects to the heart of downtown from the east side. The Burnside Bridge is also a good option because there’s very little that could fall onto it from above.

“It’s very urgent to do something about the Burnside Bridge,” said Mike Pullen, Multnomah County spokesperson. “Basically, the county has very busy downtown draw bridges and if an earthquake would happen like they tell is going to happen, probably all of them would be knocked out of service.”

The county released a video in 2017 showing a simulation of what would happen to the Burnside Bridge during a major earthquake. In the simulation, the bridge crumbles into the Willamette River.

If fixed, the bridge would join the short list of bridges that would stay up if the quake hit. Those bridges include Tilikum Crossing, the Sellwood Bridge and the Sauvie Island Bridge.

The county is still studying how to fix the Burnside Bridge.

The public can share their thoughts at a public meeting Monday night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Mercy Crops on Southwest Ankeny in Portland.

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