City of Portland Seeks Community Input on Vista Bridge

Now that a temporary suicide prevention screen has been installed on the Vista Bridge, city officials want neighborhood opinions on what to do long-term about the span's fatal allure.

Four people have jumped to their deaths from the bridge this year—including one man who leaped while the screen was still being installed last month.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation will hold a community forum tomorrow evening. The event will also be the first high-profile public appearance by new PBOT director Leah Treat, who will moderate the talk.

Treat will be wading into a fraught topic.

Neighbors near the Southwest Portland bridge have formed a Friends of the Vista Bridge group, which has been fighting for the installation of a permanent fence or other barriers. Others, however, have said that a barrier will do little to solve the city's larger mental health issues and will mar the historic beauty of the bridge.

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, will lead the community discussion about funding options and design possibilities for the Vista Bridge installation. PBOT Chief Bridge Engineer David O'Longaigh will present treatments for bridges in other cities with similar situations and review potential design options for Portland's Vista Bridge.

The meeting is set for 7 pm to 8:30 pm at Lincoln High School.