Covered Bridge Project

Where did this idea come from?
Why does CGS want to do it?
History in the making.
Who will do the work?
What other benefits come from this project?
How can you get involved?
Project Issues

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How did you ever come up with the idea for a covered bridge at "Rhododendron Meadow"? is a question being asked more and more as people begin to realize just how special such an undertaking is. Well, to get the answer to this question, you need to start at the very beginning when "Rhododendron Meadow" was saved from a proposed condominium development. More about the history

So just how did we come up with this idea for the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" project? Well, like the pioneers who came before us who built these covered bridges to cut down on maintenance costs of the bridge planking, we are also doing it for this very same reason, plus a whole lot more, which includes creating something that will be left behind for future generations who will follow in our footsteps.

At "Rhododendron Meadow", spanning Henry Creek, was a bridge that had been constructed by a former property owner for a proposed housing development, that allowed access to a ten-acre parcel. This bridge was made out of a truck trailer from a semi that rests on steel I-beams, with the span's decking being wood planks. All of this is resting on two existing concrete footings from a former bridge. This bridge was built without the required Clackamas County permit.

The Cascade Geographic Society wants to save this bridge over Henry Creek. Our plan is to turn it into a covered bridge, which would enable us to maintain the planking on the span's deck inexpensively. The existing bridge is important to have because it allows pedestrian access across Henry Creek. Access is a must because we are restoring this acreage due to the damage to habitat and resources caused by a previous property owner. Without the bridge, volunteers doing the work would have to "ford" the stream, which would obviously be dangerous and inconvenient. The other reason to maintain a bridge in this location is for fire protection. Access is also a must to the ten acres, in case of wildfire. 

The "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" will be the first covered bridge built on Mount Hood in over a hundred years. The approximate size will be 25 feet wide by 30 feet long. It would be constructed out of wood timbers and 1" x 12" cedar boards, and a roof constructed out of cedar shakes.

The Navy Reserve's SeaBe's will actually do the construction on the "Rhodendron Meadow Covered Bridge". With their talent and willingness to take on something this different, the end result should not only be spectacular, but will look as if it was constructed with the craftsmanship of a bygone time, of handtools and ingenuity.

At this time it looks as if students from a school in Portland, Oregon, will provide the engineering for this unique span. Larry Wilson's engineering students at Grant High School will be providing the drawings needed for this first covered bridge on Mount Hood in over a hundred years.

Everyone who works on this project will have their name associated with the history of this bridge. A plaque that will be located on the inside of the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" will identify all of those involved in making this mere vision a reality.

The new "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" will serve more than just a covered bridge. It will also be an interpretive site where people can come to learn about the fish and wildlife resources, the botany, the Oregon Trail (which a segment goes through), and about the Native Americans who used "Rhododendron Meadow". In addition, the information will feature the restoration work that has been done on restoring the acreage.

How You Can Get Involved

Cascade Geographic Society is creating a new historical landmark by bringing the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" into reality. And, to do so, there is plenty of work to do on this first covered bridge project on Mount Hood in over a hundred years.

Volunteers are needed in a variety of capacities for the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" project. Needed, for example, are people to do site plans, architectural renderings, grant writing, fund-raising, historical research, and a whole lot more.

Volunteers are the "lifeblood" to the Cascade Geographic Society and our projects. If you would like to assist us in the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge", the first covered bridge on Mount Hood in over a hundred years, please get in touch with us at (503) 622-4798.

Project Issues

1. "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge" will need a permit from Clackamas County. The Cascade Geographic Society has already begun this process.

2. Clackamas County is concerned with the weight of the bridge on the steel I-beams and the semi trailer bed of the existing span. The Cascade Geographic Society feels that this concern will be eliminated if the main footings of the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge", which would be concrete, are located beyond the bridge on dry ground. The County seems to agree.

3. The existing bridge is utilizing steel I-beams that cross Henry Creek to give extra support to the bed of the semi-trailer, but is one shy on the upstream side of the span, which concerns Clackamas County. We are proposing to add another beam to correct this.

4. The Cascade Geographic Society needs to secure funding for the construction of the "Rhododendron Meadow Covered Bridge", which will be through grants. However, until we have a materials list that would identify just what size beams and other materials are needed for the project, we can't even start this process. This information would come from the engineering work.