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The updated bridge.
Swinging Bridge to strut its new look posted on 09/07/2017

It cost more than expected, but that’s often the case when history is on the line.

The Rhododendron Swinging Bridge, sorely in need of repair after more than half a century of service, got the repairs it required, and will be honored by a rededication ceremony to be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, on the site of the old swinger.

According to Doug McLain, project manager from Clackamas County, the repairs were originally estimated to be about $150,000. But after work was completed in April, the cost ranged closer to $200,000.

Most of the material is new, as only the metal superstructures at the north and south and the wire rope used for suspension remain from the original construction.

“Everything else is new material,” Steve Graeper, president of the Rhododendron CPO, wrote in an email to The Mountain Times. “The metal was repainted and all the metal suspension rods were replaced. The wood decking and support structures were all replaced and the hand railing (and) sidewalls were lowered to allow for better viewing of the river while keeping with safety standards.”

The bridge enjoys iconic status in Rhododendron and serves to unite the community as it sways above the Zigzag River. It was built by the county to provide a crossing for pedestrians following the flood of 1964 isolated many residents from Rhododendron.

“I hope that the community recognizes its importance and elects to make the north end of the bridge an area that is a welcoming entrance to Rhododendron,” Graeper wrote.

The rededication ceremony will include all five Clackamas County commissioners including Chair Jim Bernard, Paul Savas, Martha Schrader, Ken Humberston and Sonya Fischer. The bridge’s history will be shared by Richard Dopp, the original designer of the bridge.

By Larry Berteau/MT

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