Portland’s Vista Bridge stands 120 feet tall, runs over a busy road and light-rail tracks, and offers an idyllic view of the cityscape and Mt. Hood to people who pass over it. The bridge was built in 1926 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, a dark side of the bridge also exists —17 people have died by suicide there in the past ten years. In 2013 alone, three suicide deaths have occurred at the bridge.
The City of Portland is considering installing barriers on the bridge to prevent more deaths, but this could cost more than $2.5 million to complete. For a city with a budget shortfall, that kind of money can be hard to come by.
Concerned residents have started a grassroots effort to raise money for a barrier and to find volunteers to patrol the bridge on foot.
What do you think should be done to address the number of suicides at the Vista Bridge?
If you, or anyone you know, is at risk of suicide, help is available at the Suicide Lifeline. Call 800-273-8255.
- Sarah Hobbs: Veteran of the United States Navy
- Kenneth E. Kahn II: Portland-based attorney, co-founder of Friends of the Vista Bridge
- Lisa Millet: Injury and Violence Prevention Manager at Oregon Health Authority