Call to Action: PETITION—Please urge Oregon and Washington Legislators to fund improvements to the Bridge of the Gods

Morning rays light the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River. Photo by Kevin Quach.

The Bridge of the Gods is an iconic crossing over the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It’s also the official route of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail Association and the Port of Cascade Locks, which owns and operates the bridge, are advocating for a new lane for foot and bike traffic. People on foot often share space with semi-trailers and log trucks. Leading a horse over the bridge isn’t realistic, so stock is usually trailered across.

People making this crossing often have declared that the bridge was the most dangerous part of their 2,650-mile hike from Mexico to Canada. A new lane will improve safety for pedestrians, horseback riders, and cyclists who want to experience both sides of the Columbia River and the PCT.

Pedestrians crossing the bridge currently share the vehicle lanes with traffic. Photo by Samuel Martin.

A hiker’s-eye view looking down while crossing the bridge in vehicle lanes. Photo by Judith Mueller.

With this petition, PCTA and the Port of Cascades Locks are seeking $6 million each from the states of Oregon and Washington to begin the work necessary to add the new pedestrian lane, paying for seismic improvements, a structural analysis, and the overall planning and design.

This state funding will move the project to a construction-ready phase and allow stakeholders, including the PCTA, to engage regional partners and advocate for project funding with local communities, Congress, and the Federal Highway Administration.

This is not just about the PCT. This work is vital for ensuring the longevity of the bridge as an important link for interstate transportation and commerce and will provide needed commuting and recreation access between communities on both sides of the river.

Please consider signing the petition below.

August 2023
To Legislators in Oregon and Washington:

We the undersigned support state funding for seismic and safety improvements to the Bridge of the Gods across the Columbia River between Cascade Locks, Oregon, and Stevenson, Washington. This funding, which this year received unanimous bipartisan support of Oregon’s Joint Committee on Transportation, would help ensure the longevity of this vital interstate link for future generations.

 It’s also a necessary first step in the long-term plan to add a pedestrian, bike, and equestrian lane on the bridge. The Bridge of the Gods is the official route of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. Adding a separate lane for bike and foot traffic would drastically improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and stock users, who today must share the traffic lanes with cars and trucks.

 The proposed funding — $6 million from each state — would strengthen the bridge, making it sustainable for motor vehicle traffic for years to come. It would improve public safety for residents in communities in both states who rely on it for commuting. The bridge is a vital link between these communities and a necessary one in times of emergencies, including wildfires and train derailments. These improvements also would be a boon to the local economies that increasingly rely on tourism and would improve the connectivity and efficiency for interstate commerce traveling through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

To sign the petition, go to this link. We’ll deliver your message to the leaders of the Oregon and Washington Legislatures. Thank you for raising your voice.

Author: Mark Larabee

Mark Larabee is the PCTA's Advocacy Director. He is the former editor of the "PCT Communicator" magazine and co-author of "The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail" published in 2016. Larabee is a journalist, part of a team who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for The Oregonian newspaper. He hiked the PCT across Oregon for a 2005 series for the paper and has been with PCTA since 2010. He lives in Portland.