Has Portland developed a bad case of Seattle-envy? Or might it be another Seattle-parody? Witness what might be called the Godzilladuct — a massive green park lid on the proposed new Columbia River crossing. It's the kind of idea that puts Speaker Frank Chopp's Viaduct plans into the shade.
The Portland idea comes from an architect named Bill Badrick, who has shown his "Green Columbia River I-5 Bridge Artworks" for a few years. A new Columbia River crossing would have a block-wide park atop the bridge, a "Park in the Sky" connecting the two states. Glass walls 10 feet high would protect the park users from wind and from falling off. Meanwhile, the lid would provide bikers, walkers, an drivers with rain protection below. Badrick claims it could be built as cheaply as some other schemes for the gateway new bridge, including one that lines the bridge with windmills.
Badrick says his inspiration comes from Louis Kahn, the great American architect and dreamer, as well as his work in green design. No question the park would afford amazing views, including the ships passing underneath and the vast riverscape. But parks usually only work if they are part of a normal pedestrian pathway, which could hardly be said to be the case for the I-5 bridge.
No word on whether this plan is emboldening Speaker Chopp, who wants to put a park atop a new elevated roadway on the Seattle waterfront. All I know is that the Speaker is not especially amused by the way his plan, despite all is hard work in tweaking it and lobbying for it, seems to be getting the brushoff in Seattle and Olympia.