#7 Ross Island Bridge

796px-rossislandbridgehill.jpgSince the grand opening date back in 1926, the Ross Island Bridge has provided a four lane heart attack in hiding. Crossing over the treacherous span is like testing your mental strength in suicide prevention (it’s not hard to jerk the wheel into oncoming traffic). Throw some light rain into the mix, and you’ve got a accident-stew goin’ on. I liken the RIB driving experience to an e.Coli outbreak at Jack in the Box*.

The other member of the open road faces a deeper threat to their mortalhood. I feel sorry for those pedestrians brave enough to cross Ross Island Bridge. If you’ve seen a power walker on RIB, try to catch a glimpse of their worried faces. Death is on the forefront of their mind.

Between SE/SW Portland, the RIB acts as the transportational nightmare of a vehicular road maze. The first time on the west approach, you will find the logic of multiple street turns mind blowing. It’s a mystery, how a city planner in the 20’s crafted the West Approach. Or, more likely, one of the subsequent planners took a normal approach and tried as hard as they could to f*** it all up. First of all, US26 slows to a snails pace as it snakes around SW Portland. Try not to get hit by a bus around the zigzag curves. Then you merge onto the highway for a split second, and cross the RIB.

Just as “boggling” is the trek from Powell to I-405. Especially if you are trying to get to the RIB from MLK. You’ll have to take a shady exit off of MLK, head through a sketchy industrial zone, go across a set or two of tracks, and on the wrong side of said tracks lies the Ross Island Bridge. One last hazard awaits: a deathly merge onto the bridge right by an ever-revolving strip club. Delightful.

*Jumbo Jack, Sourdough Jack, Crispy Meat Taco, Bacon Cheeseburger… if JITB has another e.Coli outbreak, we very well may starve to death.

17 thoughts on “#7 Ross Island Bridge

  1. Such a pretty bag! I absolutely love Anna Marie Horner’s drawing room fabric! Yummmmmy! I’ve been trying to decide what kind of bag to make for myself for the summer. This one is definitely going on the list!

  2. So many anti-gay expletives in this blog’s comments (“***” and “***got” mostly), I see now that any claim towards Portland’s claim of respect towards sexual minorities is totally bogus.

  3. I personally agree with Leisah.

    And Joseph, you must’ve written that your first day in SD. Traffic there is almost as bad as LA and as for parking . . . its NYC bad.

    Joke’s on you. And this whole stupid blog.

  4. Ross Island is a common pathway from the SW to Hawthorne and I’ve never felt uncomfortable once. Maybe you need to lay off the cocaine??

  5. To go from I-5 north to Ross island bridge eastbound, you don’t travel east. You travel west, merge into cars on the the I-5 southbound entrance ramp then turn right into a residential neighborhood. Drive uphill past one of those white trash trailers made out of the back of a pickup. Wait in line to then merge onto the Ross Island bridge.

    The person who planned this was a genius. It is perfect crap.

  6. i go ~20 minutes out of my way just to avoid the nightmare often known as the Ross Island Bridge. It’s particularly fun trying to find one’s way onto and off of this conundrum!

    • The west approaches to the RIB always seemed like someone randomly dropped a bridge over the Willamette, then told someone to figure out how to get as many roads to feed into it as possible. Then, to make matters worse, they feed into the horrible interchanges for 405. It’s traffic engineer pretzel logic.

      Of course, we live in a state that once let ODOT engineers figure out how to get rid of a dead whale off the beach.

  7. Gail,

    You’re moving to Portland to work in Salem? Why, why, why, WHY!? Live in Salem if you’re going to work there. I work in by-God Yacolt, Washington because I work here. I don’t even have to lock up my 23 year old mountain bike out here.

  8. I’m moving to Portland this summer, but will be commuting to Salem. I’m trying to decide whether to live in SE or SW Portland. I like the neighborhoods of the SE, but am nervous about commute, and in particular, getting to and crossing the RIB (west) to I-5. Can anyone tell me how long backed up the bridge gets in the am, say around 8:30, and how long it takes to cross? Also, is getting there on surface streets a problem? Any info really appreciated.

  9. I’ve been here 10 years and the Western approach to the RIB still baffles me. Every single time I try it I feel like I’m going to blow a turn and end up in Hillsboro. You kind of just have to take a leap of faith that yes, this really is the way to the bridge.

    Also: The Jack-in-the-Box e.coli outbreak? 15 years ago. How come you don’t work in a Twin Peaks joke while you’re at it?

  10. Conveniently, there is a Jack in the Box just at the east-side foot of the Ross Island Bridge. So why don’t you pay a visit, order the Jumbo Jack, Sourdough Jack, Crispy Meat Taco and Bacon Cheeseburger, then see what happens. My unbiased hypothesis: the e-coli ravages your body just as you are crossing back over the bridge to return to your hood, you swerve and (missing any Prius, Pedestrian or Pedalist) flip your car over the reinforced railing and PDX would be better off for it. But, like I said, that’s just my unbiased hypothesis.

    • Lesiah sounds like a typical Portland C with a Unt. Thank god I moved from that despicable town. Now I have 5 lane freeways in San Diego to explore and bet your dripping cold Portand a$$ that I never get in a traffic jam.

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