Morrison Bridge closes as lawsuit trial nears

Morrison Bridge will close for one day at 7 a.m. Saturday

The Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland, January 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
The Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland, January 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — There has been nothing but problems since the original open-steel grating was replaced on the Morrison Bridge three years ago with lift-span deck panels of reinforced polymer.

It was a $7.3 million project Multnomah County officials say needs to be entirely replaced.

But temporary fixes need to be done, and Saturday the Morrison Bridge will be closed to all motor vehicles after significant deterioration to those deck panels was discovered.

The polymer panels showed signs of deteriorating soon after they were installed in 2011-12, the county said.


Multnomah County spokesperson Mike Pullen said the county is set to go to trial next month with the contractor who installed those panels.

Pullen said one problem has been flapping panels, “and now underneath the panels are plastic beams and the beams are now cracking.”

The county, he said, needs to keep making the temporary repairs instead of a permanent fix because “this whole deck is evidence in this lawsuit. We don’t have a solution of what to replace it with.”

The lawsuit could help decide how it’s paid for, but an attorney for the installer told KOIN 6 News the construction company just did what the county told them to do.

The county said they will close the bridge one weekend day a month to do inspections and maintenance until the deck can be replaced.

“At the best case,” Pullen said, “we wouldn’t be able to put in a new deck until sometime maybe even next year.”

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