A 15-year-old Beaverton girl jumped to her death from the Vista Bridge yesterday, the latest in a string of well-documented suicides on the historic bridge.
City leaders have come up with a plan that would place barriers on Southwest Portland bridge and still satisfy the Oregon Office of Historic Preservation.
The price tag? $2.5 million, says Portland Commissioner and new Bureau of Transportation leader Steve Novick.
Mayor Charlie Hales reached out the office to find a design solution for the barriers, designed to keep people from leaping from the bridge, but now it's the price that's the hold up.
"If we can find that money, we think it’s a great idea," says Hales' spokesman, Dana Haynes, who called Wednesday's suicide "horrific."
Neighbors around the bridge have formed a Facebook page dedicated to modifying the bridge and preventing suicides.
Novick says that the lack of money for the barriers shows how basic transportation isn't being funded. PBOT identified a federal pot of money that could be used, but Novick added that it is on a three year cycle that just ended, so using federal money would require a 2.5 year wait."It's a dramatic example of how we have funding needs beyond basic road maintenance," Novick tells WW, adding that Portlanders spend $244 million each year on their personal car maintenance. "If we had money for road maintenance and these other pressing safety needs like that, we wouldn't have a problem."