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TriMet Unveils Name For Portland Transit Bridge: Tilikum Crossing

OPB | April 16, 2014 9:12 a.m. | Updated: April 16, 2014 12:49 p.m. | Portland

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Update 10:36 a.m.: TriMet and the Bridge Naming Committee unveiled the name for the new transit bridge just before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday: Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.

Tilikum means “people, tribes and relatives” in Chinook Wawa, an international language that TriMet says was used by the first Oregonians.

“Tilikum symbolizes coming together,” Committee Chair and historian Chet Orlof said in a TriMet press release. “It conveys connections, in not only the relationships between people, but in the connections we will make as we ride, walk, run and cycle across this beautiful new bridge.”

The original proposal had the spelling “Tillicum.” The committee decided to use the spelling “Tilikum” because they said that’s the way the first people who lived in Oregon spelled it.


TriMet and the Bridge Naming Committee will unveil the name for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge shortly after 10 a.m. today. OPB’s Kristian Foden-Vencil is at the event and will have an update.

According to TriMet, the committee reviewed almost 9,500 submissions and 3,000 comments by the public before whittling it down to four finalists:

  • Abigail Scott Duniway, after the pioneering newspaper publisher and advocate for women’s voting rights
  • Tilikum Crossing, a word in Chinook jargon that means “people”
  • Wy’East, the Native American name for Mount Hood
  • Cascadia Crossing, after the Cascade mountain range

The criteria was made “to ensure the name would reflect regional importance,” so Lisa Simpson Bridge and Sparkle Pony Bridge weren’t taken too seriously.

TriMet officials say this is the first transit bridge to be built over the Willamette River in more than 40 years. It will be the first cable-stayed bridge in the Pacific Northwest.

When completed, it will stretch 7.3 miles, including 1,720 feet over the Willamette River. The bridge will accommodate light rail, streetcars, buses, bike and pedestrians.

Whatever the committee decides to name it, the bridge is tentatively scheduled to open September 12, 2015.

Anyone want to place any bets?

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