When I joined the Willamette River bridge project in 2008, the team was still planning the bridge design. Our citizen volunteers were strategizing the overall theme, Whilamut Passage, which would guide the vision for this special place by honoring its past, present and future visitors.
We continued to engage the public through construction by offering site tours and seeking input on the design enhancements. We’ve held many community events that were well-attended, and I was always energized by the passion of the Eugene-Springfield community. I feel I can call this place my home away from home, and I will never forget the many wonderful people I have met.
My vision for this important project was a much higher level of public engagement than is typical. From virtual open houses and ODOT’s first blog to a design enhancement steering committee, I’m extremely proud of the entire team’s willingness to work together and surpass anyone’s expectations. Our extensive public involvement has become a model that my colleagues at ODOT and other state agencies are now seeking to emulate.
I am touched by the enthusiasm of our city partners in working with us. I was tickled when, during our groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Piercy of Eugene told me she was excited to keep her golden shovel. It’s a moment she still talks about!
While the blog may be done, we are still completing work on and around the bridge. Watch for more design enhancements, interpretive displays and the opening of the path viaduct in 2014.
|On a recent cold day, steam rose toward the new arches of the Whilamut Passage Bridge.|