A new bridge over Johnson Creek restores auto access for the road leading to Leach Botanical Garden.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Leach Garden Friends cut the ribbon for the Southeast 122nd Avenue bridge Thursday, May 9 — almost three and a half years after heavy rains triggered a flood in December, 2015 that damaged the bridge, making it unsafe for cars.
"I know that we have all been waiting for quite a while for this day and I'd like to thank every community member for your patience," said Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, noting that parts of the old bridge dated back to the 1900s.
"This bridge is also more resilient in the face of flooding, and it is built to serve our community for many decades to come," the transportation commissioner continued.
The project, which completely rebuilt the bridge, was funded with $3.5 million in federal dollars in 2016. PBOT was required to contribute $350,000, which largely came from parking revenue and Portland's portion of the state gas tax.
PBOT says the new bridge's reinforced concrete decking and steel girder supports "eliminate" all risk of future flood damage. The bridge is now 10 feet wider and includes sidewalks and Americans with Disabilities Act improvements. Blades of grass are etched into the concrete railing, and officials say the bridge also will "support the salmon habitat."
It is expected to last at least 75 years.
"Leach Garden Friends is very happy to have this attractive new bridge at the gateway to the Garden," said David Porter, executive director of the group. "It is a herald of things to come as we begin our own improvements."
The nonprofit organization supporting the Portland Parks & Recreation-owned property has prepared its own master development plan for the 16-acre site, which involves new woodland plantings, a fireplace terrace, elevated tree walk and a staircase path connecting the manor house with the upper garden.