Fields Bridge

In 1850 Joseph Fields filed a donation land claim along the Tualatin River in what is now the West Linn area. He owned the land on both sides of the river and in 1853 purchased a $5 license to operate a ferry at this spot, which he did until the first bridge was built. A covered bridge was built across the river around 1862, possibly by Joseph Fields himself. According to Bosky Dell, another bridge was built in 1866, but destroyed in the flood of 1890. In 1891 a windowless covered bridge was built. A fourth covered bridge, this one with windows, was built around 1923. The photo below was taken around 1925.

Fields Bridge
Fields Bridge, c1925 (ODOT)

Fields Bridge
Fields Bridge, 1946 (Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections)

This final covered bridge was removed around 1953 when a new concrete span was constructed on Borland Road. In 2010 that bridge – which had become structurally deficient – was replaced with a new $6.4 million, 300-foot-long, 52-foot-wide bridge. In 2005 the City of West Linn developed the new Fields Bridge Park south of the road near the bridge.

Fields Bridge
Fields Bridge in 2012

Where Dollar Street dead-ends at the Tualatin River, just a few feet from the bridge, there’s an old stone memorial to someone named Klaus Beckman.

Klaus Beckman killed 3PM May 6 1875 Explosion Str. Senator Buried 133 ft. N. May 25, 1875 Wife Kate son Fred survived 7 crewmen died 12 mi. N Willamette R.
Klaus Beckman memorial, 2012

On May 6, 1875, Klaus Beckman was traveling on the steamboat Senator as it docked along the Willamette River near SW Alder Street in Portland. The boiler on the boat exploded, scattering debris and people up and down the river. Beckman was one of six men who were missing and presumed dead. His body was finally found on May 23, and it is presumed that he was buried in a small Fields family cemetery near Fields Bridge on May 25, hence this stone marker.

Location of Fields Bridge in West Linn:


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Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge

The one and only covered bridge in Multnomah County is not technically a covered bridge. It lacks traditional wood trusses so it is considered a “roofed span”. The 60-foot-long span crosses Johnson Creek on Deardorff Road and was built in 1982 to replace an older bridge that was too narrow.

Bridge over Johnson Creek

County Executive Don Clark had dreamed of building a covered bridge in the county for years. At one point he even considered moving a covered bridge from elsewhere. He was quoted in the Oregonian as saying “I’ve always thought they were very picturesque. They look like they belong in Oregon as part of the landscape and examples of a relaxed, more placid lifestyle.”

He got his wish when engineers decided to replace the too-narrow bridge over Johnson Creek on Deardorff Road. While the new bridge was under construction a contest was held in the David Douglas School District to decide a name. Ginell Lamont, a seventh grader at Alice Ott Elementary School, won the contest with her suggestion of “Cedar Crossing.”

Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge Sketch
Design sketch of covered bridge

The bridge was dedicated on a wet day in January 1982. Don Clark joked with the crowd that “If you’ve ever wondered why they put covers on bridges, if this weather doesn’t tell you nothing will.”

Today the bridge looks much the same as it did when it opened 30 years ago. My photos below, taken in April 2012, show the view from the north end of the bridge, then the south end.

Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge

Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge

Location of Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge:

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