Monday, February 26, 2007

GAWD: $10 million earmarked for aesthetics to beautify local bridge


"... it's the shape and texture of the guard rail." Said David O'Longaigh, supervising bridge engineer for the city of Portland.
The state is pledging to spend $10 million (5.5% of the total $180 cost of the new bridge) to beautify a planned freeway bridge across the Willamette River along the Eugene-Springfield border.

A bridge worthy of a grand entrance to Eugene in Springfield dreams Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken, referring to the bridge over Franklin Boulevard that was closed two years ago and replaced by a temporary bridge to carry traffic on I-5.

Of course, what is beautiful to one person may be ugly to another as in the old saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In Portland, a nonprofit group recently raised $66,000 to illuminate the Morrison Street Bridge with a 32 fixture LED lighting system which produces an unlimited palette of colors.

"Lighting can be used to put lipstick on a pig," said David O'Longaigh, supervising bridge engineer for the city of Portland. "It can make an ugly bridge look pretty at night. However, when the sun rises you're still left with an ugly bridge."

A public meeting will be held this winter to show feasible designs and to gather community opinions.
The county is hurting so badly that it has to STEAL money from us in order to pay for basic services such as public safety, and then less than a week later, we've read articles like this one where once again, they (the government) seem to have no problem at all coming up with money for "feel-good" projects.

As I have said before, "right pocket, left pocket, it is all the same pair of pants."


Anonymous Anonymous said...


My comments were based on my desire to see new interchanges when the new Willamette River bridge is built. This is something that Jim Torrey and I stronly advocated together.

This to me, would be a great entry way into Glenwood/Springfield and eventually the U of O. I have also strongly advocated the county to move the dump in Glenwood. An urban dump is clearly a blight if we want continued new private sector investment into our community.

Sid Leiken

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One last bit of information, this is part of the OTIA package passed by the legislature about 4 years ago. It is also part of the bridge program to replace unsafe bridges in the state and the Willamette River bridge was listed as the one of the 5 most critical in the state that needed to be replaced.

Yes there was money added for aesthetic value and they have asked for local governments thoughts on this. This is also about the time when then Mayor Torrey and myself began lobbying ODOT to also add new interchanges on the new bridge when built.


11:39 AM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

Mayor Sid: Officials always have an excuse for how they waste everyone elses money. Would you repaint your house if you couldn't afford the payments? While the bridge may need to be replaced because it is unsafe, I hardly want my tax money spend on "dreams of a grand entrance". Visitors and prospective residents of Eugene and Springfield will experience the reality of budget problems, public safety and health inadequacies and homelessness long after the initial impression of any freeway bridge.
On the Glenwood transfer station. While you may not enjoy the look of it, it is conveniently located to both urban areas. If it is located elsewhere it will probably mean less access and require wasting much more fuel in order to accomplish the same goal not to mention the cost of relocating this highly functional operation.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Can't argue with you on your first paragraph. The new EMX is a perfect example of maybe the biggest waste of taxpayer's money this area has ever seen. The project before that I believe was the biggest waste is the DeFazio bridge. Just because they are a waste doesn't mean I have not ridden the EMX or have ridden my bike across the DeFazio bridge.

If ODOT comes and asks us our ultimate dreams on what a new bridge could look like then I am going to provide the same opinion I did nearly 4 years ago.


4:26 PM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

Ditto on the DeFazio bridge. It certainly is beautiful as is the $80,000 curtain in the Hult Center and entire new library in Eugene. The library even made some architecture magazine. But that said, I'm a neo-prudentist. I like to dream too but not with other peoples money. The needs are so obvious, the shortages so acute, and the will to address those issues so lacking that no amount of waste is tolerable.
I'm sorry that I appear to be attacking you personally but I am actually speaking out against the leadership mindset that allows officials to look at wasteful practices and justify it with, well the moneys there if we don't use it we loose it. The EMX is a great example of that. The feds dangle a hugh chunk of money as bait and how can we turn it down. Does LTD really think the people of Lane County would pony up 28 million for that albatross?
I'm sure the people living under that I-5 bridge will appreciate the asthetics. To me there is beauty in citizens being able to find gainful employment and feed their families. If you keep up the good work in developing the Glenwood area into a thriving multi-use zone it will solve some of the problems by encouraging business, employing citizens and increasing the tax base.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As it is with many things that get built, the money is usually in the form of a grant and cannot be used for anything else. Many grants are available for projects that improve the community but NONE are available for operating costs. Instead of attacking the people who are utilizing the grants to help the city, go for the ones who donate the grants. It's THEIR money and they can say how it gets spent!

4:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If I couldn't handle a little bit of criticism along the way I shouldn't be in this business. I don't know you but if you ever want to have a cup of coffee, water or whatever your choice, give me a call.


7:56 AM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

anonymous 4:37-did you even read the original post? The STATE is pledging 10 million dollars to beautify a bridge. That seems like tax dollars to me. If you are referring to the $66, 000 for lights on the Portland bridge, yes that was private donation and I don't have much of a problem with that except that money is probably tax deductible which means that it has to be made up by everyone else in their taxes. I have another problem with people donating money to build something and then once it is built the general public is forced to operate and maintain it against their will like the Hult Center in Eugene.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the homeless will enjoy living under a beautiful new bridge.

5:06 AM  
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