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Construction and Dedication

The revised $6,437,000 effort to build the Burnside, Ross Island, and Sellwood Bridges was described by The Oregonian as one of the most costly and extensive bridge construction programs in the United States (The Oregonian, Jan. 1, 1925). Bids for the new Sellwood Bridge were opened on January 7, 1925, with Gilpin Construction securing the contract for the Sellwood Bridge at a total cost of $442,000. The contract called for completion of the new bridge in just 250 working days, before the end of the year.

Sellwood Bridge Elevation and Plan

Although the plan to reuse the deck spans from the Burnside Bridge was abandoned, approach girders from the 1894 bridge were recycled into the design of the new Sellwood Bridge. This approach to saving money by recycling bridge parts was not uncommon at the time,and the two spans of the original Burnside Bridge were eventually relocated to Clackamas County where they still span the Sandy and Bull Run Rivers (Wood Wortman, 86-88).

On December 15, 1925, the Caples ferry, which had served Sellwood for more than two decades, made its last trip across the Willamette. The first official vehicle crossing carried the county commissioners and officials from the Sellwood board of trade.

"Steel construction on Sellwood
Bridge nearly done"
(The Oregonian, Oct. 18, 1925)

"New bridge over river gives
Portland added traffic facilities"
(The Oregonian, Dec. 20, 1925)

"For 21 years the ferry John F. Caples had done valiant service in transporting Portlanders to and from Sellwood, connecting the east and west sides. Now it has been supplanted ... In its place towers the new $500,000 Sellwood Bridge."

- The Oregonian, Dec. 16, 1925

"Exercises incident to the official opening of the Sellwood Bridge to vehicular and pedestrian traffic will begin this afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the west side approach of the bridge....There will be a program of music and speaking, in which Mayor Baker, the county commissioners, engineers, and officials of the bridge-building company will participate."

-The Oregonian, Dec. 15 1925


Details of the Historic Sellwood Bridge

Looking west, Piers 18-21

Looking west, Piers 18-21

North Elevation, Warren Truss

North Elevation, Warren Truss

Girders reused from the 1894 Burnside Bridge

Girders reused from the
1894 Burnside Bridge

Internal view of Bridge Structure

Internal view of bridge structure,
looking west

Bridge bearing, Pier 17 looking southeast

Bridge bearing, Pier 17
looking southeast

Bottom Chord Gusset, looing southwest

Bottom chord gusset,
looking southwest

Photos taken from the Sellwood Bridge Historic American Engineering Record 

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