Support a Bridge Book for Kids!

The Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland & Vancouver is a book that gets young kids excited about science and engineering and provides teachers a comprehensive resource for developing engaging elementary school curriculums, all through an exploration of one of the most diverse and historic collections of big river bridges in the world.

Help us publish the first-ever kid’s book about these spectacular bridges!

“Bridgetown” is one of Portland, Oregon’s most popular nicknames, and bridges have been taught as part of the third grade social studies curriculum in its public schools for over 50 years.

However, even though the city and its next-door-neighbor, Vancouver, WA, are living museums of bridges—home to all three main bridge types and all three main movable bridge types, built by some of the most famous American bridge engineers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries—there has never been a book about these world-class bridges just for young readers and their teachers. Help us ensure that our public school teachers have the resources they need to keep the bridge curriculum alive in our children’s classrooms!

What’s in the book?

Full-color pages with unique photographs and illustrations
Detailed historical and contemporary facts about all 22 of the Portland and Vancouver area big river bridges, including four railway bridges
Photos of 9 footbridges
Interviews with bridge engineers and others
Bridge poetry and art from elementary students
Math exercises
Step-by-step instructions to build and load-test a truss bridge!
And more!

We need $35,000 to bridge the gap in publishing and design costs.

We want to donate at least 4,000 copies of Big & Awesome Bridges to Portland Public Schools third-grade classrooms and to Portland and Vancouver metropolitan-area public school libraries. This will ensure that each third-grade student has their own book to study bridges by 2014.

This book has come together as a collaborative effort by a mostly-volunteer group of people. However, we have needed to raise money to pay for the book’s design, printing, binding, and publishing costs. We’re almost there, but we need your help in this final stretch.

This book will be around for generations.

Much of your donation will go towards the physical cost of this book. Since public schools do not receive resource donations of this nature very often, we are having each copy of Big & Awesome Bridges built to last at least 25 years. This will ensure that children will have the opportunity to study our cities’ bridges for generations to come.

Moreover, this hardcover, over 200-page book will be printed and bound in the U.S., supporting the continued revitalization of our national economy!

Want your own copy of Big & Awesome Bridges?

The only way to ensure your own (autographed!) copy of the book is to donate to this campaign. We are not planning to publish for retail and will print only a limited amount of books beyond the number needed to give to public schools. For each book that is purchased as a perk through this campaign, we will be able to donate at least one other book to children in need.

Spread the word!

Please share this campaign with your family and friends on facebook, twitter, and other social media. With your help, we can enrich the minds and hearts of our children and make certain that all our big and awesome bridges remain standing for generations to come!

Thank you!

Bridging The Gap

Walk Portland’s bridges with Sharon Wood Wortman and Ed Wortman, authors of The Portland Bridge Book

Help fund the new limited edition book they are publishing on a volunteer basis with PDX Bridge Festival, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, to give to Metro-area school classrooms and libraries: The Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland & Vancouver—A Book for Young Readers & their Teachers.

Meets at Floyd’s Coffee, 118 NW Couch in Old Town, 2 p.m., Sunday, October 27. Visit the ODOT Bridge Museum, meet a bridge operator, and walk into the bascule pit of the Morrison Bridge—one of the largest mechanical structures in Oregon, to see gears 36 feet tall in operation. About 3 hours, with tea and a snack afterwards in Chinatown.

$125 per person or $200 a couple, includes food, plus an autographed copy of the new book, being printed in a limited edition just in time for the 2013 holidays. Get your copy while you can! Anytime someone buys a book, they are helping to pay for two or more free books that will go to school kids and teachers. Pre-registration not necessary, just show up. Questions? Visit or call 503 330 0900.

2013 Sponsors and Supporters

Become a sponsor of the 2013 Broadway Bridge 100th Birthday Celebration.


Suspension – $3,500 and above
Arch – $2,500 to $3,499
Multnomah County (In-Kind)
Abundant Yarn in cooperation with Cascade Yarn
Portland Community Media
Truss – $1,000 to $2,499
The Rose Quarter

Portland Streetcar

Girder – $250 to $999
Club 21
Royal Neighbors of America
Rivet – $25 to $249
Show Case Music
JaCiva Chocolates
Devious Wag Music
Salon Chi
Koldkist Bottled Water
Aloha Produce
the people’s republic of portland
Louise McGregor
Presents of Mind
Nancy Tongue
Sharon Wood Wortman
Roger Jones and Candee Clark
Charlie White Art

Dave’s Killer Bread
Cream Salon
Nancy Chapin
Martian Arts Tattoo Studio
Evan Ross – Portland Bicycle
Portland Juice Press

Become a Sponsor!

“Bridge For Blankets” Public Art

“Bridge For Blankets” is a public art project currently installed on the Broadway Bridge.  Learn how to get involved in this unique project:

– Click on the flier image below to be directed to the Indiegogo crowdfunding site, where you may donate to our project fundraising campaign. Our fundraising goal is now at $2,500. Please donate today, and we can make this happen together:

Bridge for Blankets Fundraiser
Indiegogo Project

Raffle tickets are currently on sale at the AIA in the Pearl for the “Raffghan” (aka raffle afghan) made from remaining project materials.
Tickets are 1 for $5 OR 5 for $20.  Tickets will be on sale during this Saturday’s Block Party until 3pm when the “Raffghan” winning raffle tickets will be drawn.
Go buy your winning ticket today, or join us for a chance to win on Saturday!
– Become a member of the “Bridge For Blankets” Volunteers and Donors group page on Facebook:
– To view more work from Tyler Mackie visit her artist page:

Birthday Celebration & Calendar of Events


Broadway Bridge Celebrates 100 Years
of Connecting Communities and Cultures


Ongoing: Rafghan Raffle to raise funds for Bridge for Blankets. Raffle prize is a 5’ square knitted art afghan. Contact Tyler Mackie for more information, at 541.908.1744 or

July 17, 3pm-10pm: Bridge for Blankets fundraising day at Migration Brewing. 2828 NW Glisan St. Raffle tickets will be on sale at the event.

July 21: Bridge for Blankets art installation begins on the Broadway Bridge. The artwork will be up through late August.

July 25, 6pm – 9pm: Silent art auction to raise funds for Bridge for Blankets. SoHiTek Gallery, 625 NW Everett, Suite 102.

August 1, 5:30 -8pm: Art Opening at the American Institute of Architects Portland chapter: “The Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland”. 403 NW 11th Ave. On display through Aug 29 during regular gallery hours: Monday, 12pm-5pm, and Tuesday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

August 10, 12pm – 7pm: Block Party. NW 9 event.)



Events July 17 through August 29

Installation of a temporary public artwork later this month will transform the Broadway Bridge as part of a multifaceted celebration culminating in an August 10 block party for the Broadway’s 100 birthday. Beginning Sunday, July 21, the first of four multicolored, hand-knitted banners, 18’ x 21’ each, will be installed–with the help of the Multnomah County Bridge Section–to hang on the outside of the draw spans of the Broadway Bridge for the piece titled Bridge for Blankets, which will be up through the month of August. The artwork, conceived and organized by local artist Tyler Mackie, uses partially donated materials (chief among them, the Cascade 220 Superwash Wool, purchased with in-kind support from Cascade Yarns and Abundant Yarn Co.), and harnesses the time and talent of roughly 150 volunteer knitters to create Portland’s largest knitted art installation to date. After the festival the banners will be washed, divided into 42 separate afghans (each one 6′ square), and donated to local warming shelters via Human Solutions and Sno-Cap.

The Bridge for Blankets project is part of this year’s PDX Bridge Festival, a string of events that kicked off last April and that leads up to a block party on August 10th from 12pm-7pm, at NW 9th and Hoyt.  This is a fitting art installation to celebrate the Broadway Bridge’s 100 year presence and what it brought and brings to the fabric of Portland.    Opening up the bridge between the music and clubs of the east side to the exotic life and associations of the west side in addition to the cuisines of both, enhanced this city’s development.  We are a better place to live because of it.

The block party will have music, dancing, displays of model bridges built by local area elementary school students, bridge tours led by Sharon Wood Wortman and Ed Wortman, a bridge art show, Radio Disney activities for children, and vendors of food, art, and crafts.  The block party is a National Night Out event, and will also include displays and other information about neighborhood safety and crime prevention. The outdoor venue is conveniently located near MAX, Portland Streetcar, bus lines, and a smart park garage.

At the August 10th event, information will also be available on the new Sharon Wood Wortman/Ed Wortman project: The Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland and Vancouver—A Book for Young Readers & Their Teachers, of which PDX Bridge Festival is a sponsor. At over 100 pages and brimming with illustrations, this book about the bridges of Portland and Vancouver is a massive undertaking, and is being developed as a text book–distributed for free–to be used as class sets for Portland Public Schools’ third grade classrooms and to Vancouver public school libraries.

The Broadway Bridge, maintained and cared for by Multnomah County, was the first bascule bridge over the Willamette River and the longest bridge of its type in the world when it opened on April 22nd, 1913. It is one of Portland and Vancouver’s three highway century bridges, along with the 2010 Hawthorne Bridge and the 2012 Steel Bridge. At river mile 11.7, the Broadway Bridge provides a unique and critical link for the businesses and neighborhoods in and near the Rose Quarter with those in and near the Pearl District. PDX Bridge Festival, a 501c3 charitable and educational organization, has celebrated the bridges that connect us all since 2010.

WHO & WHAT: PDX Bridge Festival, a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization, is calling for proposals from individuals, organizations, businesses, and government agencies for activities and events to celebrate the Broadway Bridge’s 100th birthday in 2013. Proposals should also include sources of funding, as well as strategies for achievement of the proposed event, such as timing, equipment and volunteers needed, etc.

The Broadway Bridge, maintained and cared for by Multnomah County, was the first bascule bridge over the Willamette River and the longest bridge of its type in the world when it opened on April 22, 1913. It is one of Portland and Vancouver’s three highway century bridges, along with the 2010 Hawthorne Bridge and the 2012 Steel Bridge. At river mile 11.7, the Broadway Bridge provides a unique and critical link for the businesses and neighborhoods in and near the Rose Quarter with those in and near the Pearl District.


Bridge Walks

The Steel Bridge’s 100th belly button birthday is July 21. PDX Bridge Festival, Inc. hosted a block party this past Saturday night, and is now sponsoring six pay-as-you-will bridge walks. All proceeds from the walks go toward the publication of The Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland & Vancouver–A Book for Young Readers, also sponsored by PDXBF. This will be the first book about the local bridges for children.

Four of the walks, just across the Steel Bridge, take place July 13 and 14 and begin and end at Portland Union Train Station as part of UP’s 150th anniversary celebration being held at Union Station on July 13 and 14.

The July 21 and August 11 walks are three hours and include visits to the operator’s tower and bascule pit of The Morrison Bridge. These two begin and end at Floyd’s Coffee in Old Town. Details are below:

Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14, join Sharon for one-hour walks to the Steel Bridge as part of the Union Pacific Railroad’s two-day 150th birthday celebration at Portland Union Train Station. The Steel Bridge pay-as-you-will walks begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., both days, and begin and end at the train station. No advance reservations necessary.

Saturday, July 21, 9 a.m. until noon, the day the Steel Bridge turns 100, join guide Nathan Hoover for a walk across the Steel Bridge and other downtown Portland bridges. Begins at Floyd’s Coffee, 118 NW Couch, Portland. Includes a visit to the Morrison Bridge to meet the operator and tour the bascule pit. No advance reservations

Saturday, August 10, At 12 (noon) and 4pm, join Sharon Wood Wortman and Ed Wortman for a walk across the Steel Bridge and other downtown Portland bridges. Includes a visit to the Morrison Bridge to meet the operator and tour the bascule pit. Begins at Floyd’s Coffee, 118 NW Couch, Portland. No advance reservations necessary.

PDX Bridge Festival Block Party

Saturday, July 7th from 5pm – 12am at The Slate (2001 NW 19th Ave).

Live Music on two stages, completely free!

featuring performances by:

Solovox, Excellent Gentlemen, Quick & Easy Boys, Tango Alpha Tango, Symmetry/Symmetry, Violet Isle, Worth, and Andrew Paul Woodworth.

Food and craft vendors, and beer from Lagunitas Brewery.

The Block Party is sponsored by Lagunitas, Union Pacific, Scion, The Royal Neighbors of America and KZME 107.1FM.

2012 Sponsors and Supporters

Suspension – $3,500 and above

American Society of Civil Engineers Oregon Section Geotechnical Group

Arch – $2,500 to $3,499

HDR Engineering

Truss – $1,000 to $2,499

THA Architecture
Portland Ironworkers Local #29
KPFF Consulting T.Y. Lin International
Columbia Bridge and Geer
Odyssey Program at Hayhurst School*
North American National Cartographic Information Society*

Girder – $250 to $999
James Ruddell, P.E.
Society of American Military Engineers Portland Post
Bittner-Shen Consulting Engineers
Portland Teachers Retired*
Nutter Family Foundation
Thompson Metal Fab
Charles Birnstiel, P.E.
Rivet – $25 to $249

ASCE Oregon Section Younger Member Forum*
Third Rail Repertory Theatre*
BergerABAM, Inc.
JLA Public Involvement
Beverly Cleary Elementary*
Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineering
Avamere at Sandy*
Pacific Northwest Chapter National Railway Society*
American Society of Civil Engineers Southwest Washington Section
St. Anthony School*
Sea Reach, Ltd.
Northwest Aero Pix
Rivet Level IndividualsTerri Theisen
Cecelia Huntington
Anne McLaughlin
Sybilla Cook
Halle Sadle
Jan and J. Rae Zweerts
Tom Szymoniak, P.E.
Steven and Joann Price
Cabe Nicksic
Shirley Kishiyama
Edward Taub
Diane Carver
Melissa Madenski

Music and Art Celebrating the Historic Bridges of Portland Oregon