Representatives Blumenauer, Bonamici and Senators Wyden, Merkley Announce Funding for Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project

Government and Politics

August 11, 2022

Grant Will Award $5 Million to Multnomah County for Bridge Replacement

PORTLAND, OR?– Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced a $5 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant award to Multnomah County for the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project. The funding will go toward completing planning on the project to replace the existing 96-year-old bridge with a new seismically resilient bridge, including wider, safer bike and pedestrian facilities separated from vehicular traffic, and upgraded ADA compliant sidewalk routes to light rail transit. Currently there is no bridge across the Willamette River to downtown Portland that could be used immediately after an earthquake.

“Having a safe, earthquake ready bridge crossing to downtown Portland in the event of a natural disaster will benefit not just Portland, but the entire state,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer, “The Burnside Bridge replacement is a critical infrastructure upgrade that makes the region more resilient and safer while helping to reignite Portland’s reputation as one of the country’s most livable communities.”  

“Maintaining reliable transportation across the Willamette River if an earthquake strikes Portland is essential to the safety of lives and livelihoods in my hometown and statewide,” said Senator Ron Wyden. “I’m gratified this much-needed federal investment in the Burnside Bridge is en route to ensure this vital bridge stands well-equipped to survive the impact of a major quake.”

“We’ve known for years that our region is overdue for a large earthquake, which is why we must build safe, seismically resilient infrastructure. The Burnside Bridge replacement will keep this key transportation link standing in the event of a natural disaster, and I am grateful that federal funding will support this important project,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.

“Portland is called Bridgetown for a reason, and we have to do all we can to make sure our bridges are able to face a major earthquake,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “The Burnside Bridge offers a direct connection to downtown Portland for emergency personnel, business goers, and day trippers alike. This bridge is a key piece of infrastructure for many Oregon businesses, communities, and everyday commuters. I’m grateful this funding is headed to replace this aging bridge—as the new bridge will ensure Oregonians and visitors alike will have safe, earthquake-resilient access on this critical crossing.”

"There would be no immediately usable bridges in downtown Portland after a major earthquake, which would rip our entire region in two," Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson said. "We cannot let that happen, and this federal funding is an acknowledgement of how critical it is that we build an Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge. I'm grateful to our federal delegation, who helped us secure this funding. But much more will be needed to construct a crossing that can withstand a major quake. "