A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Fix this bridge? Yes, state plans to do so

Written March 19th, 2023 by Hasso Hering

Reduced to one lane for 18 years, the Waverly Drive bridge on Cox Creek looked like this on March 16.

With plenty of time on your hands, you can scroll through hundreds of pages of government documents such as, for instance, the latest draft of ODOT’s “STIP” for 2024-2027. And if you do, you might find a surprise.

STIP stands for State Transportation Improvement Plan, and it lists all the projects on which the Oregon transportation department intends to spend money in the coming years.

The surprise, for me, was that the plan says the long-neglected Waverly Drive bridge over Cox Creek will finally get replaced.

The bridge carries traffic including trucks to and from the Millersburg yard of the Portland & Western Railroad. It’s also the gateway to Simpson Park  and the Talking Water Gardens.

Built in 1957, the bridge has had a weight limit and been restricted to one traffic lane for the last 18 years.

One day in February 2005, the Linn County Road Department posted a weight limit that isolated two or three trucking businesses with their rigs stranded on the north side of the creek. A few days later, the county scraped off a layer of asphalt to lighten the deck and reinforced the bridge with steel pilings. It also raised the weight limit to get those companies back in business.

The railroad is still there, of course, but the other trucking operations are gone. The Water Gardens were built where trucks and trailers used to be parked.

The county eventually handed the bridge over to Millersburg because it’s within that town’s city limits.

The STIP says ODOT plans to spend $500,000 on preliminary engineering in 2024, and $89,000 on acquiring more right-of-way in 2025. Then construction to replace the bridge would take place in 2026 at an estimated cost of $3.9 million.

The plan says the project is “scheduled for construction.” While there is no guarantee that the schedule is firm, it’s good to know this long-neglected bridge is finally on ODOT’s list to be fixed. (hh)

Beyond the bridge on the left: The parking lot of Simpson Park.




9 responses to “Fix this bridge? Yes, state plans to do so”

  1. Cap B. says:

    Our infrastructure is not crumbling; it “has” crumbled. But. we think nothing of spending millions on a new stage in Monteith Park and a splash pad. Yes, I know that is a urban renewal district. Albany pulled the a fast one on the people by forming an urban renewal district many years ago. Urban renewal districts with tax increment financing were invented in California and have now been outlawed in California. They came to realize how unfair they are to the taxpayer.

    • Bob Woods says:


      Search Wikipedia and you find that Urban Renewal concept started in Great Brittan and France in the 1800’s, not California. It’s used in many nations across the world. In Oregon it started in the 1950’s, and you can find it in Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 457.

      What many people, especially Libertarians, object to is “Eminent Domain”, which has been around for most all of human history. The US Constitution recognizes the legitimacy of the power of eminent domain in the 5th amendment with the phrase “… nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “Yes, I know that is a urban renewal district. Albany pulled the a fast one on the people by forming an urban renewal district many years ago.”

      Hogwash – and you know it. The disdain you have for representative government is palpable…but there it is — and Albany is much the better for it – in spades!

      • Cap B. says:

        You love to proclaim “Hogwash.” I guess you think it is cute.

        Driving through Downtown Albany, right now, is enough to make anyone cry, what with all but two fir trees in main area of Monteith Park gone, and the proverbial “wrecking ball” still whacking away at the old bank building.

        I found online, many years ago, the origin of tax increment financing to pay for urban renewal districts. It was first used in California in this country. I am for representative government. It is not representative when the Albany Council decides what to do with taxpayer’s money without a vote of the people when millions of dollars are being spent.

  2. CHEZZ says:

    Just another case of ‘complain and remain’.

  3. Craig says:

    Hasso, has the state made any plans for the Bridge across the Willamette? Even if the state started today, it will take 10 years to implement. I can only imagine how bad traffic will be then.

  4. Rich Kellum says:

    Hasso, It sat for years because no one claimed it, it was the line between Albany and Millersburg………….. How the state took responsibility would be a question for either city.

    • Rich Catlin says:

      Rich, I wondered that too. How did a bridge that used to be the County’s and now the City’s end up on a Oregon improvement plan? Not commenting on the condition of the bridge, but asking whose responsibility is it?

      • Rich Kellum says:

        Hey Rich,
        I do not know who owns the bridge or talking water gardens for that matter, I know that the county kind of adopted it when it became a problem.. it used to be Albany on one side and Millersburg on the other, but with the treatment plant being responsible for both sides now that may be wrong now.


HH Today: A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley
Albany Albany City Council Albany council Albany downtown Albany Fire Department Albany housing Albany parks Albany Planning Commission Albany police Albany Post Office Albany Public Works Albany riverfront Albany schools Albany Station Albany streets Albany traffic Albany urban renewal apartments ARA Benton County bicycling bike lanes Bowman Park Bryant Park Calapooia River CARA climate change COVID-19 Cox Creek Crocker Lane cumberland church cycling Dave Clark Path DEQ downtown Albany Edgewater Village Ellsworth Street bridge Highway 20 homeless housing Interstate 5 land use Linn County Millersburg Monteith Riverpark North Albany ODOT Oregon coast Oregon legislature Pacific Power Portland & Western Queen Avenue Republic Services Riverside Drive Santiam Canal Scott Lepman Talking Water Gardens The Banks Tom Cordier Union Pacific urban renewal Water Avenue Waterfront Project Waverly Lake Willamette River

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved. Hasso Hering.
Website Serviced by Santiam Communications
Hasso Hering