2018 Providence Bridge Stride

Date of walk: Sunday August 12, 2018

One Sunday morning in August Portland shuts down many of its bridges to car traffic and gives them over to the Providence Bridge Pedal/Stride where bike riders and walkers enjoy some beautiful views of the city. We took part in for the fourth year in a row – you can read about our earlier walks here. We aren’t bike riders so we always pick the walk. This year is was a relatively short walk of just over 5 miles. We headed north from the waterfront and headed west, then north, then east over the I-405 Fremont Bridge, then crossed back over the Steel Bridge.

Our route.


I concentrated – not exclusively – on taking pictures of people this year; as I clicked away my previews looked great on my camera screen. Then when I got home I looked at the first pictures and was disappointed at how grainy some of the images were. What was going on here? Yeah it was a cloudy day, but not that dark and even pictures of people across the street were grainy. Then I looked at the photo settings and saw that all the pictures were taken at 1/1000 of a second – even shooting with a wide open aperture! As a result the ISO values were really high which leads to grainy images.  OH NO! I forgot to unset that minimum shutter speed setting after taking train pictures the week before. I had fixed the other settings for taking pictures of fast moving objects but forgot about this one. AAARGH! I felt a giant pit in my stomach. I didn’t ask, but I’m pretty sure Portland and Providence Hospitals won’t re-run the event so I’ll have to go with what I got.

The stride kicks off promptly at 8:00 so we had to get up early to get a bit of breakfast and then catch the MAX train into downtown. As we lined up at the starting line some of the earlier bikers were finishing up and being cheered on by a group of volunteers who were really into it.

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Funny, just because I have a biggish camera hanging around my shoulder people think I can take good pictures. These 3 women asked me to take a shot of them with their iPhone. I agreed as long as I could snap one on my camera.

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Soon the woman who would count down the start got on the microphone.

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And we were off; as we headed up Glisan toward the I-405 off ramp – which would be our on ramp – we passed a set of sculptures.

Before long striders and bicyclists converged on our approach to the Fremont Bridge. We walked opposite the regular flow of traffic. The top deck of this double decker bridge is for southbound traffic.

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The bridge came into sight.

This bridge was built in 1968. The main span was built in Japan and floated over the ocean and down the Columbia and Willamette river where it was held in place by huge tug boats and barges as it was bolted into place. A friend told me thousands of people came downtown to watch.

There is a huge party on top of the bridge. Lots of organizations have booths and serve snacks and provide entertainment. Bike shops have a presence to help with bike problems.

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People cheer and high five one another.

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Grant High School had a chorus group there. Here are some of the guys.

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Of course the view is spectacular. These two bridges are 4 or 5 miles north of the Fremont; the closer one is a railroad bridge and the one in the background is the St. Johns Bridge.

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You can see from this map segment the relative distance of the bridges we saw. The Fremont Bridge is the one with the “405”emblem in the middle/lower right. The St. Johns and railroad bridges are up at the top left. The other downtown bridges are clustered south of the Fremont.


After splitting a banana and sharing a cup of water we left the party and headed to the east side of the Willamette River. But, wait! The Union Pacific Albina Yard is just under the Fremont Bridge on the northeast side. I can’t let an opportunity to take train pictures go by.

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After winding our way by the Moda Rose Center we crossed back over the Willamette to return to the west side of downtown. There wasn’t a party going on, but the views of the other downtown bridges was nice.

Looking north the Broadway Bridge and the Fremont – which we just crossed – are in view.

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Looking south we see the Morrison Bridge and others – How many bridges can you count?

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Shortly after coming off the Steel Bridge the finish line came into view.

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What a great time. The event brings together over 9,000 participants and who knows how many volunteers. We’ve had a great time each of the 4 times we’ve participated.

Here is a look at some of the participants. Dang it – I couldn’t find the tent where they handed out ice cream bars.

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A few tour helicopters buzzed overhead.

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We earned lunch; we caught a Beaverton-bound MAX train but got off at Goose Hollow before the tunnel to grab a bite at the Goose Hollow Inn – which serves the best Reubens I’ve found in town.

I love Portland area; it’s such a livable city with many civic events and opportunities to enjoy our part of the Pacific Northwest. If you live in Portland or are close enough to come for a weekend in the summer, I urge you take part. And as you can see – no bike? No problem. Walking is a great option.

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