‘Leach Garden’ bridge closed for repair

Don’t plan on parking in the Leach Botanical Garden “lower lot” on SE 122nd Avenue before March, unless you know the ‘long way’ to get there …

As this image shows, during the December, 2015, monsoon-like storms, workers struggled to clear debris as it piled up under the upstream side of SE 122nd Avenue Bridge over Johnson Creek. East Portland News archive image

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After the extensive the flood plain project designed to tame Johnson Creek during heavy rainstorms, stormwater again raged through the waterway on December 7, causing flooding in low-lying areas.

To read about this storm, and see photos see our story,
“Foster Road again flooded by Johnson Creek”: CLICK HERE.

At the height of the storm surge in the creek, debris began lodging in the supports, and piling up under the SE 122nd Avenue Bridge – that’s the rustic-looking bridge near the main entrance to Leach Botanical Garden.

While we were there, several drivers ignored and drove past three signs warning that this bridge was closed to vehicular traffic, and were forced to make U-turns in a tight space.

This crossing – a couple of long, twisty blocks south of SE Foster Road – damaged by the December storms, according to Portland Bureau of Transportation Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera on February 3: “This bridge will be closed for about four weeks to repair damage from heavy winter rainstorms.

“PBOT crews were inspecting the bridge in the aftermath of several winter rainstorms that had flooded the area, and scoured some sections of bridge supports,” revealed Rivera.

“The inspections revealed damage that requires immediate repair. The span is now closed to motor vehicle traffic. The bridge sidewalk will remain open for biking and walking,” he said.

This bridge is closed to cars and trucks, but the main Leach Botanical Garden parking lot is open – that is, for those who can find their way to it, via back roads.

Because the only parking beyond the main gate, on the grounds of Leach Botanical Garden, is reserved for the handicapped, their parking lot – located just across the undrivable bridge – is essentially cut off from their park.

“Having the bridge closed is inconvenient,” agreed Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter about the situation. “At the same time, I’m glad they discovered that the bridge was challenged, before it failed completely.”

The bridge closure hasn’t had much of an impact on their operations, Porter told East Portland News, because this is the “slow season” for events.

“But, we do have a Valentines Day wedding at the Garden,” Porter pointed out. “This means guests will need to go ‘the long away around’ to get to the parking lot, and then march across the bridge and up to the Manor House.”

Porter said he hasn’t been updated on the project’s progress, or the length of the closure.

Local access is being maintained south of SE Foster Road and north of SE Flavel for residents and businesses, as well as access to Leach Botanical Garden’s main gate.

This PBOT-provided map offers suggested alternate routes around the closed SE 122nd Avenue Bridge.

PBOT suggested alternate routes

  • SE 110th/112th – Southbound traffic is detoured west at SE Foster Rd to southbound on SE 110th Drive/SE 112th Avenue to SE Flavel Street and eastbound back to SE 122nd Avenue. Northbound traffic is detoured at SE Flavel Street west to SE 112th Avenue/SE 110th Drive, then east on SE Foster Road, back to SE 122nd Avenue.
  • SE 134th/Deardorff Road – Southbound traffic is detoured east at SE Foster Road to southbound on SE 134th Avenue/SE Deardorff Road to SE Flavel Street, and westbound back to SE 122nd Avenue. Northbound traffic is detoured at SE Flavel Street east to Deardorff Road/ SE 134th Avenue, and west on SE Foster Road, back to SE 122nd Avenue.

“The traveling public is advised to travel cautiously, observe the closure signage and directions by reader boards, and the detour signage,” concluded Rivera.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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