Hawthorne Bridge Centennial Installation

Artist sketch: Gabe Shaughnessy


The centerpiece of the festival is the Hawthorne Bridge, which celebrates its hundredth anniversary in 2010. To celebrate the centennial of the nation’s oldest working vertical lift bridge, we’ve designed an installation that will turn this bridge into a kinetic art installation. A solar-powered fabric and lighting display, installed for the duration of the festival, makes use of interactive elements to transform the Hawthorne Bridge into an illuminated map of how this bridge—the most widely used and loved of the six county-operated downtown bridges—is utilized on a daily basis. This, in turn, raises awareness of the role bridges play in bringing us together, both socially and geographically. Thus, as the thousands of people move across the structure each night, they become part of a conversation about the role bridges play in our lives, turning mundane infrastructure into social commentary and a means for artistic expression.

Projection Show: For one hour on the night of Saturday, July 31, the Hawthorne Bridge will raise to reveal a projection screen stretched across the displaced area of the lift span. The screen provides a framework to give a visual tour of Portland—who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going—using gathered media from the last 100 years, text-based interactions from our audience, and captured images from the event. This display, produced in conjunction with a free concert on the Morrison Bridge, will be visible from neighboring bridges, both banks of the river, and downtown buildings. The Hawthorne Bridge Centennial Project will be a spectacle to remember!

Total audience: 40,000

(Digital Animation by ADi)

Music and Art Celebrating the Historic Bridges of Portland Oregon