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Matt Love's Yaquina Bay Bridge

The writer and teacher Matt Love is head over heels, and he’s not shy about it:

One sunny afternoon, I looked at the bridge’s soaring sinuous green lines and saw a woman. Call it personification or call it a writer’s pretentiousness, or call Dr. Freud, but the Yaquina Bay Bridge suddenly appeared to me as a very attractive woman with perfect curvy hips, and I am a hip man. Right then, I dubbed her the Green Lady and I was in love.

Love lives in South Beach, and has driven, walked, and biked his way across his “Green Lady” for years now. The Newport bridge is turning 75 on Labor Day. Love thinks she’s still in perfect shape, still worthy of awe and respect. (And photography. Here’s a slideshow of some of the hundreds of black and white photos Love has taken of the bridge.) And he’s written a new book to document all of it.

If Love’s new book is about his personal relationship with the bridge — one that evokes “gigantic imagination of the landscape and personal reflection” — it’s also the accumulated stories of students, taxi drivers, and passersby. Love has crafted a sort of communal essay about what a piece of architecture can mean for a town.

If you live on the coast, or have just passed through, what does the Yaquina Bay Bridge mean to you?

Are you in love with another human mark on Oregon’s landscape?


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OPB | Aug. 25, 2011