Barriers go up on Vista Bridge

MHAP does not endorse the barriers, a cosmetic non-remedy which sidesteps, at great expense, the real problems and needs of people in suicidal crisis.  If it surprises you we’re not on board — being a mental health organization and all — read more about why. — Eds.

By Sara Roth, KGW.com, August 6, 2013

Installation of temporary barriers on Vista Bridge in Southwest Portland began Tuesday. The barriers were ordered by city commissioner Steve Novick as an emergency suicide prevention measure.

Four people have fallen to their deaths at Vista Bridge, nicknamed ‘Suicide Bridge,’ in 2013 alone.

Novick declared an emergency to ensure construction of a temporary anti-suicide screens on the bridge in June.

“Unfortunately, this beautiful and elegant bridge has been known as ‘Suicide Bridge’ since its construction in the 1920s,” said Novick. “It is time–past time–to stop the dying.”

Nine-foot-tall mesh screens will be placed on the historic bridge as a temporary remedy until funding for a more permanent solution can be found, said Diane Dulken of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

A permanent fence would cost at least $2.5 million, money the city doesn’t currently have.

The installation is scheduled to be completed by the end of August, according to Dulken. Traffic lanes and one sidewalk will remain open through the installation process.