Failing Pedestrian Bridge

connecting N Failing Street over I-5

Failing Pedestrian BridgeThe Failing Pedestrian Bridge is one of my favorite footbridges in North Portland. It provides easy access from the Interstate MAX Yellow Line Overlook Park stop to the glories of Mississippi Street. In just a flash, you can travel from Grand Central, say, to Grandpa's Cafe in St Stanislaus Polish Church. Both stairs and a ramp are provided, so bicyclists, wheelchair users, and pedestrians alike can cross the bridge.

It has long been a part of the collective subconscious of Portland. One example is Lli Wilburn's Atop the Failing Pedestrian Bridge, a miniature that she painted when she made her home in North Portland.

Of course, there are two glorious aspects of the Failing footbridge. One is the name, named for Mayor Josiah Failing, an early proponent of public education in Portland. Failing lends his name to both the footbridge, and the street. The formal name, until recently, was the Failing Pedestrian Bridge. Recently, someone woke up and added the word Street. Uh-huh.

But the best thing about the Failing footbridge is crossing it during rush hour, and looking down at all the people stuck in gridlock in their cars.

It was only reopened in 2003, after neighborhood activists waged a fight to be able to access the Interstate MAX. It was closed in 1991 because it was felt that crimes were committed in Overlook (the west side of the bridge) by people of Boise (the east side of the bridge), who would evade police by fleeing across the footbridge.

It's not the first or last time that a footbridge has been considered an aid to or indicator of crime. Mistrust of pedestrians, perhaps?

filled under footbridges of North Portland
January 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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