Improving a Great Neighborhood Asset: the 35W Pedestrian Bridge

28 Mar

It’s great to know that the good work we do close to home helps the entire city become a better place to live! And a group of highly motivated young volunteers has its eye firmly on the big picture.

Last year, the updayton Creative Communities team decided our neighborhoods, which are great community assets,  should be walkable, accessible, safe and friendly. The team focused on the pedestrian bridge that crosses 35 and connects the historic neighborhoods of South Park and Oregon District. Helping neighbors walk and bike safely between the two makes perfect sense.

However, the walkway tends to be overgrown with aggressive weeds, victimized by litterbugs and bottle breakers. Volunteers from both neighborhoods have pitched in a couple times each year to clean it up. Now that updayton has made it the focus of a Creative Communities project, we can look forward to more help and attention—and hopefully more usage of this great people connector.

Pam Miller Howard, former 28-year resident of South Park, is overjoyed at the prospect. “I vividly remember the battles (one in the 1980’s and again in the 2000’s) to save the pedestrian bridge leading to Oregon when many wanted to tear it down,” she recalls.  From our very early days as a historic district, volunteers have devoted hours to cleaning and maintaining the overpass with ongoing optimism about neighborhood improvement. “Thank goodness we did win the battle to keep the bridge!” says Pam.

At the end of last summer updayton’s CC team hosted a major clean-up day, and many South Parkers worked up a sweat removing trash and shrubbery. CC, however, wants it to be more than  ‘not ugly.’ They want to see it as a favorite place for community members to enjoy (especially with its close access to parks).  Watch the video, created by South Park neighbor David Jewell! Here’s the plan:

1) Vote for your favorite design by April 2. Two creative South Parkers have submitted designs, Patrick Reed and Genevieve Richardson! (We are so proud!)

2) All volunteers are invited to a clean up day (prepping for the painting) on April 28.

3) A painting party will follow, sort of a grown-up paint by numbers of the winning design on May 5.

4) Help out the kick-starter campaign so they can get all the materials they need to make this happen and keep it going into the future.  As of this writing, the project has achieved it’s goal, but additional funds will be used for maintenance and other such projects.

We hope you will all find a few hours to spare on this project. It’s a good way to meet new people—there will be food and beverages available. And the results will make you proud and keep you out and getting fresh air and exercise while you enjoy walking your dog, strolling with friends, heading towards your favorite café or coffee shop.