The Portland Bridge Book - Sharon Wood, illus. Jay Dee Alley

Ever since we moved to Portland, I've loved learning about its many bridges over the Willamette. Each one has its own look and personality, and The Portland Bridge Book is a handy collection of facts and figures about each bridge. It's a pretty brief book, with just a few pages on each bridge (accompanied by Alley's wonderful pen drawings), including things such as the origin of each bridge's name, unusual notes, nearby landmarks, and a brief history of the bridge. (There are, of course, also all relevant statistics such as main span length, center height to water, type of bridge, color, and cost.)

My only complaint about the book is that Wood seems to have collected and reported a lot of information about the construction of the bridges without really explaining it. How many of us, for instance, really know the difference between a double-leaf Strauss bascule and a steel-through double-deck vertical lift truss? Even when she gives a brief explanation of how some of the lift or draw bridges work, she simply quotes some engineering report and does little to explain the meanings of the terms. (Perhaps some diagrams would help.)

But aside from that, I did learn quite a few things about Portland and its bridges that I hadn't known before and gained a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by a city built on a river.

Fed to jonathan's brain | June 01, 2005 | Comments (0)


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