What's up with that? Work on waterfront walk waiting, like all of us, for bridge

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 

There is a pier/walkway just east of the Interstate Bridge, near Joe's Crab Shack. It has been closed for several years because the portion nearest the Interstate Bridge is not stable; it is listing and some of the deck timbers are jutting up. That area is listing because it is not supported underneath, but there is enough area supported with pilings for a narrower walk. The remainder of the pier/walkway to the east seems in good shape. Who is responsible for the pier and are there plans to rebuild the listing area and reopen the pier/walkway?

— Barbara Nordstrom, Hazel Dell

Barbara, the essential answer is: don't hold your breath. Or, if you're already turning purple while waiting out the most controversial, convoluted bridge construction project on the planet, this will turn that purple a little deeper.

Years ago, Jane Tesner Kleiner of Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation told us that the riverbank isn't stable there and the boardwalk was closed to keep walkers from unexpectedly becoming sink-or-swimmers. Nothing about that situation has changed, according to city public works spokeswoman Loretta Callahan. "There are no immediate or near-term plans" to do anything about the pier in the spot you're talking about, Callahan said.

That's largely because it's only yards away from the Interstate 5 bridge that either will or won't be replaced. (It'll definitely be one of those. We think. Well, we're pretty certain.) When and if the work begins, it'll affect infrastructure on both sides of I-5 in lower downtown, including this spot. There's no real point in spending money on what may be a temporary fix, the city figures.

"We anticipate addressing updates to the waterfront trail, including the area at the boardwalk, as part of the Columbia River Crossing project and the other waterfront developments," Kleiner wrote in an email. So, for the time being, the boardwalk stays closed. If waterfront development and bridge work are to be the catalysts for fixing and reopening it, you could stay purple with anticipation for a long time to come.

Got a question about your neighborhood? We'll get it answered. Send "What's Up With That?" questions to neighbors@columbian.com