St. Johns Bridges The Historical Gap

The St. Johns Bridge from the Linnton (west) side of the Willamette River


The St. Johns bridge has spanned the gap between St. Johns and Linnton for over 78 years. Spanning over 1,200 ft and reaching a height of 408 ft, the massive bridge is often identified by its Gothic spires and green color (originally city officials wanted it painted with yellow and black stripes, but the designers waited until St. Patrick’s Day 1931 to announce the bridge’s final color). After a vaudevillian lobbying campaign, the bridge project received funding and began construction just one month before the Stock Market Crash in 1929. Through the early years of the Great Depression, construction on the bridge provided many area laborers with steady work. Dedicated during the 1931 Rose Festival, the bridge broke records for highest clearance in the nation and was the first to apply aviation clearance lights to its towers. Today, the St. Johns bridge remains the tallest bridge in Portland and the only suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley.

-Sam Korman & Delphine Bedient


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