June 6th, 2013 | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD News | Posted In: City Hall, Transportation, PDX News

Vista Bridge Barriers Would Cost $2.5 Million

vista_bridge_from_jefferson_street,_looking_east_(2012)Steve Morgan, Wikimedia Commons

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."

Police, in a press release about the recent suicide, also noted that suicide is preventable.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare has an urgent walk-in clinic, open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Payment is not necessary.

If you or someone you know needs help with suicidal thoughts or is otherwise in an immediate mental health crisis, please visit Cascadia or call (503) 963-2575.

Lines for Life is available 24 hours a day at (503) 972-3456.

 
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