Portland, Oregon’s newest bridge is a monument to “the people” and a striking addition to the city’s skyline, but it won’t move a single car from one side of the Willamette River to the other.
The IBEW-wired Tilikum Crossing, which opened on Sept. 12, is exclusively for the use of Portland’s light rail, streetcars, buses, pedestrians and bikers. A video produced by the IBEW featured members working on the project.
The 1,720-foot span, which cost $134 million to build, will light up the city’s night sky with a complicated and unique LED-lighting system designed to reflect the rapidly changing conditions on the river below.
“The importance of having a project like this helps highlight who we are and what we do,” Portland Local 48 Business Manager Gary Young told the “Electrical Worker” last year.
“It’s hard to do that when you’re doing a commercial building or a grain elevator,” he said, “but when something like this gets so much publicity, and then you can throw ‘IBEW’ across the face of it, it really helps to get our name out there.”
And the publicity hasn’t stopped. In September, “The Oregonian” published a video and feature on Local 48 member Camilo Marquez.
The 29-year-old project foreman was responsible for more than 10 miles of wire that controlled everything from trains and switches to the dazzling light display.
Appropriately, the bridge’s name, Tilikum, is taken from the Chinook Wawa word for “people,” reflecting not only the multitudes who will cross under its suspension wires each day, but the hard-working men and women who helped to put it there.
Photos used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Sam Churchill.