Monday, April 20, 2009

Grand Opening Blogroll

The reactions pour in...all positive!

Over at AC Gilbert House, Bubble Girl frolics with the Mayor and has a slideshow.

At Pacificpedaling there's another slideshow.

Salem-News has a video and article.

Oregon Farmer calls it "awesome."

Paul Gehlar sends this great slideshow:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What an Opening!

Beautiful weather, wonderful crowd, great speeches and enthusiasm. What more could you ask for?

Here's the Statesman's coverage. (pdf here)
The better part of an hour was necessary to make an official half-mile trek across the river Saturday morning, but those who made it seemed to relish the experience. Hundreds of eager river crossers endured some 50 minutes of ceremonial oratory, salutation, acclamation, and approbation from at least a half-dozen speakers, waiting to get a shot at a trip across the Union Street Railroad Bridge.
For a Statesman Photo Gallery, click here.

Today it seemed just as crowded. One person on a bike counted over a hundred of pedestrians on the bridge during the 5 minutes he rode from one end to the other. A few were standing and gazing at the wonderful views of the river, but most were strolling. That means thousands of people used it this weekend!

(Photo: Thomas Patterson, Statesman Journal)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interpretive Signs with Historic Timelines

Over at SHINE, Virginia Green has posted images of the three signs that will be mounted early tomorrow morning, in time for the Grand Opening ceremonies! Aren't they fabulous?

SJ Photo Gallery

The Statesman Journal has a nice little photo gallery of the bridge. I don't know if the link will go into the paid archive and die, but here it is for now!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's Almost Here! Bridge Grand Opening on Saturday

Wow! The Grand Opening is just a few short days away! It starts at 10am this Saturday, April 18th.

The ceremony will feature music by the 234th Army Band and presentations by Salem Mayor Janet Taylor, Senator Peter Courtney, Senator Jackie Winters, Congressman Schrader’s Field Representative for Marion County, Jon Pugsley, Councilor Dan Clem, and Friends of Two Bridges Chair, Hazel Patton.

A formal ribbon cutting will follow the presentations and then the inaugural bridge parade will begin. The bridge parade will be led by the North Salem Color Guard and will feature Mayor Janet Taylor on the SANYO electric hybrid eneloop bike, followed by the 234th Army Band.

Event attendees will be joined by local mascots, including A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village’s “Bubble Girl,” Salem’s Riverfront Carousel’s “Ambassador,” and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoe’s “Crater” to complete the procession across the bridge. Following the parade, attendees will enjoy cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, and family activities in Wallace Marine Park.

In addition, local businesses will be offering special opportunities for attendees in honor of this momentous occasion: The Willamette Queen Sternwheeler will be offering a 9:45 a.m. Union Street Railroad Bridge Ribbon Cutting Cruise for $5.00 per person; A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village will be hosting a FREE day for families from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dragon Boat Club representatives will be available at the docks in Riverfront Park to answer questions about the boats and club involvement; and Downtown and West Salem merchants will be open for Saturday shopping and meals.

The event will be crowded, and the weather looks to be good, so we encourage people to walk and bike! If you must drive, park on the west side, in Wallace Park, and use the old Center Street Bridge path to get to the east side. Click through for a larger version of this map for more detailed directions.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bridge so Popular, Impossible to Keep Closed!

Salem loves the Bridge!

Yesterday interest in the bridge was so intense that it proved impossible to keep people off it! Today the Statesman notes that demand was so great that at about 1:30pm yesterday City officials opened the bridge to bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

The Grand Opening ceremony is still scheduled for Saturday, April 18th, at 10am.

(Photo: Timothy J. Gonzales, Statesman Journal)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vision 2020 Open House Report

(Updated with Photo! - Mayor Taylor, Stephanie Matlock Allen, Virginia Green, Tom Green, Jr. at the Vision 2020 Open House)

Almost 100 people came to the Vision 2020 Open House on Tuesday. But in many ways the most exciting part of the night featured a Friends of Two Bridges board member, Virginia Green.

Mayor Taylor gave the first annual Visionary Award for exemplifying the spirit of Salem’s Vision 2020 to Virginia for "her leadership and commitment to the long-term vitality of Salem’s vibrant City Center."

The award citation singled out her work in leading "projects highlighting the historic character of downtown." And of course the Union Street Railroad Bridge is one of them!

Another board member, Ellen Miller, staffed the F2B table. Ellen reports that
Many people stopped by the table to share their enthusiasm for the opening of the Union Street Railroad Bridge and their stories for how they were planning on using it, from Salem Bicycle Club riders to workers commuting to the downtown area from West Salem.
She also noted that the conceptual plans for the Minto Island Bridge led to two frequently asked questions. Courtney Knox from Urban Development had these answers:
What is the ownership status of the island?
Boise Cascade owns the 310 acres on Minto Island which were formerly in industrial use, supporting their downtown operations. The northernmost 22 acres of the Island was purchased by the Salem Audubon Society. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department had been working Boise to purchase the property. Those negotiations have ceased. As a result, the City is initiating discussions with Boise. Staff will need to resolve the bridge landing location with Boise to allow for further design, engineering and assessment to support regulatory agency permitting. However, the Coast Guard can issue a preliminary determination regarding appropriate clearance height for the bridge without resolution of the bridge landing.

Have wildlife impact assessments have been done on the island?
We're only in the conceptual design phase at this time and have not secured enough funding to continue through the additional design, engineering, environmental and biological assessments and well as other technical analyses which will be required to support a permit application for the bridge to cross the Slough. Estimating the potential wildlife impacts of the proposed bridge crossing, at this early date, is premature. As we get further into the detailed design, we'll have more precise information to begin the analysis and assessment of impact to the animals making their home on Minto Island or along the Slough.
The complete staff report can be read here (24pp. pdf).

Ellen reports that CCTV was filming, and we hope to have a link when the video is done! Also maybe some photos of Virginia!