THREE PARKS, TWO BRIDGES, ONE COMMUNITY
MARCH 2009 Update
Gallagher Fitness Resources has been intimately involved in the Union Street Railroad Bridge Conversion Project that will safely and aesthetically connect Riverfront Park to Wallace Marine Park. We are also in support of the proposed Minto Island Bridge for bicycle and pedestrian use. We fully acknowledge and are aware of the concerns of those not necessarily in favor of the project. For the last six years we have been actively involved with this bridge project and remain hopeful that it will come to fruition. Our goal and our passion is to increase awareness and support toward the construction of the bridge and the connecting pathways into Minto as soon as possible.
In the spirit of health, well-being and community livability, it truly is in the best interest of all park users to commute and recreate safely between the parks. Community support and momentum is better than ever and we extend our invitation to all to help continue and strengthen the support for this important project.
Please click on the links below or scroll down to read all the news. And thanks for your support.
Railroad Bridge Opens April 18th – You are Invited!
What: Grand Opening of the Union Street Railroad Bridge
When: Saturday, April 18 at 10AM
Where: Railroad Bridge – Begins on East side in Riverfront Park
Contact: Hazel Patton 503-581-4939 or Ptn1363@msn.com
The historic Union Street Railroad Bridge is getting new life. The Grand Opening of this bicycle and pedestrian bridge is April 18th and you are invited to partake in this great event.
This project will convert the Railroad bridge, built across the Willamette River in 1912-13, into a bridge for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized users. It will provide a critical half-mile link in the bicycle and pedestrian circulation systems for the community, the region, and the state.
Two large urban parks (PDF)
Wallace Marine Park (114 acres)
Riverfront Park (23 acres) - bookend this bridge and the conversion will connect trail systems into a single, safe and pleasant, family-friendly network.
Railroad Bridge Grand Opening Ceremony will include:
- Brief speeches from local and state dignitaries
- First official march across the bridge
- Cookies and Hot Chocolate!
- North Salem Color Guard
- Community bicycle, running, walking, outdoor groups
- Moms, dads, kids, families, schools, teams, walkers, runners, bicyclists, bird watchers, photographers, hikers, shoppers, journalists
- Activities by A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village
- And YOU!
Friends of Two Bridges
Gallagher Fitness Resources
A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village
Key Manufacturing and Rental
In-kind donations for Railroad Bridge Opening: refreshments, tent, etc.
Cash donations for activities and promotions associated with the Opening
Permanent Railroad Bridge signage
Cash Donations towards activities and construction of future Minto Bridge
Acknowledgment in Bridge Opening Program and press releases
Display banner at Bridge Opening
Make Checks payable to: Friends of Two Bridges/Salem Parks Foundation. Mail to: Salem Parks Foundation, P.O. Box 5764 Salem OR 97304
Frequently Asked Questions – Railroad Bridge - Click Here (PDF)
More Railroad Bridge information - Click Here
What About the Minto Island Bridge?
Salem citizens have long envisioned a foot bridge connecting two parks along the Willamette River and downtown. The Minto Island Bridge, planned to span the Willamette Slough from the south end of Riverfront Park to Minto Island, will connect users to existing trail systems and downtown Salem via a multi-use path.
Together, with the conversion of the historic Union Street Railroad Bridge into a bicycle and pedestrian facility, these two bridges will link more than 1,300 acres of popular downtown parks and about 26 miles of trails.
More Minto Island Bridge Information - Click Here
Includes Bridge Concept Study with photos of four bridge concepts
Includes Community Outreach Timeline
The City is accepting feedback on the Minto Island Bridge design until March 16th. Please read the FAQ section below and then take the survey. Council will make a decision about designs in March. All are welcome and encouraged to attend this council meeting.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – MINTO BRIDGE
What are the four conceptual design options?
Two of the bridge design options have a higher clearance, one has support piers in the water, and one spans across the Slough without piers in the water. Two of the design options have a lower clearance, one of these lower clearance bridge designs has support piers in the water, and one spans across the Slough without piers in the water.
What kind of watercraft can fit under the lower clearance bridges, as conceptually designed?
The water reaches its highest point, on average, in January, at approximately 122 feet above sea level. This means a clearance of 22 feet at typical winter River levels. A kayak, canoe, jet-ski, and most recreational cabin cruisers, could pass under the lower clearance bridges shown in the conceptual designs. The higher bridge options, at January mean high water level would afford a clearance of 34 feet, allowing for passage of the Willamette River Queen.
Is this area prone to flooding?
Yes. In the two lower clearance bridge designs, the bridge decking would rest one foot above the water at the 100 year flood level of 144 ft. above sea level.
How do these four designs relate to earlier studies?
In 2006, the City conducted a feasibility study of low clearance bridge concepts. This earlier study did not provide an option of clear-spanning the Slough, clearing the 100 year flood level, or accommodating the Willamette River Queen. This more detailed feasibility analysis examined permitting, in addition to scheduling impacts.
Why is clear spanning the Slough being considered?
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has raised concerns about potential contamination within the sediment in the Willamette Slough. Consequently, in-water support structures for the bridge may create additional need for permitting and an environmental assessment. The Willamette River and the Slough are home to endangered species, provide essential fish habitat, and are considered environmentally sensitive waterways.
Has the City considered a draw bridge?
This type of bridge was not considered due to high construction and operating expenses. Draw bridges are considerably more complex and, therefore, more expensive than fixed span bridges. In addition to the high cost to construct, these types of bridges often require full time bridge operators and maintenance personnel.
How much will the Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge cost?
Depending on which of the design options is preferred by the community, the bridge may cost between $3.8M and $8M to design, permit, and construct. The range is based on three primary variables: (1) bridge deck clearance off the Slough; (2) whether there are piers in the Slough; and (3) length of the ramps required to make the crossing including the length of the western, Slough, and eastern spans. Each design option is similar in required permits and construction timelines. Costs are in range with similar bridges built recently in other Willamette River communities.
Who's going to pay for it?
Constructing the Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge will require a combination of resources, including grants and urban renewal funds, from a variety of organizations, entities, and individuals. Funding this bridge is not likely to take away from funding for the proposed new auto bridge over the Willamette River.
How long will it take to construct the bridge?
Pending funding, it will take four to five years to construct the bridge due to limited in-water work periods, permitting, and remaining engineering and design. As a result of the limited construction season for in-water work, it will take two years just to construct the bridge. A temporary bridge will be constructed as a platform from which the permanent bridge structure can be built.
Won't the bridge create more homeless traffic on Minto Island?
In cooperation with the future owner, the City plans to extend Minto-Brown Island Park and the trail system to open up the 310 acres of the Island immediately adjacent to the Willamette River Slough on the Downtown side. The bridge would increase bicycle and pedestrian traffic to and from Downtown, Minto-Brown Island Park, and South Salem, likely creating more use and higher visibility of activity on the Island. This type of increased activity typically discourages the congregation of the homeless.
What kind of impact will the bridge have on animals in the area?
The impact on animals making home on Minto Island, or along the Slough, will be reviewed and considered by State and Federal regulatory agencies as part of the permit application. These agencies will have input in the final construction designs to mitigate the risk to area species. The Salem Audubon Society purchased the northwestern 22 acres of the Island as a heron rookery several years ago, but the herons are no longer using the Island as a nesting place.
Who owns the portion of Minto Island, directly across the Slough from the Eco Earth in Riverfront Park, where the bridge is designed to land?
Boise Cascade owns 310 acres of Minto Island. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is working with Boise to purchase the property. The City and OPRD executed a memorandum of understanding in March 2008 which describes their intent to collaboratively manage and develop the future park property after it is purchased.
How much did it cost to open the Union Street Railroad Bridge?
It cost about $3.8M to open the bridge and may cost as much as $3M more to remove the lead paint from the bridge structure in future years. Funding for the project came from City of Salem, Urban Renewal Agency, the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department, and Cycle Oregon grants, in addition to public contributions.
What will happen next?
Monday, March 23 2009, Council will consider which design option to submit to the Coast Guard for approval and initiate more detailed design and engineering. Council meetings begin at 6:30pm. All are invited and encouraged to attend this City Council meeting held in the Council Chambers at the City Hall.
How can I get up-to-date information about the bridge?
For information on the bridge, please call Todd Klocke or Courtney Knox at 503.588.6178 or
Who are "The Friends of Two Bridges" and what is their role?
Friends of Two Bridges is a grassroots citizen group focused on the design, construction, and opening of the Union Street bridge, Minto Island bridge, and connecting pathways to bicyclists and pedestrians. A variety of interests are represented in this group, including the recreational community, historic preservationists, area children's advocates, downtown merchants, property owners, and statewide cycling interests. The Friends of Two Bridges meets monthly. Contact Hazel Patton at 503.581.4939 or email Ptn1363@msn.com for more information.
Click Here for updated information and to post your comments.
Home | Products | Event Calendar | Race Results | Training Clinics | Training Blog
About GFR | Location | Contact Us | Clubs | Resources | Photos | Media
Site by AbleDesign