Wednesday, January 22, 2014


In October 2009, my mother and I, and the four dogs, began a venture that would end up taking us on a journey throughout the western half of the state of Oregon. Our goal was to visit all of Oregon's covered bridges. We accomplished this goal in six weekend day trips. I have divided the covered bridges into nine regions.
Here is what we discovered in the
Short Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-09
Linn County
The Short Covered Bridge was built in 1945 with the Howe truss design and spans 105 feet across the South Fork of the Santiam River.
The bridge is the sole survivor of the covered bridges, which crossed the South Fork of the Santiam River and is one of the few remaining in the county to have a wooden shingle roof.
The span is Linn County's most eastern covered bridge. When the wooden-housed structure was built, the bridge was known more commonly as the Whiskey Butte Covered Bridge, named after the nearby Whiskey Butte, which was along the historic Santiam Wagon Road.
The bridge was renamed after a long-time area resident, Gordon Short.
The Short Covered Bridge is an excellent example of the open truss window design.
Ducks, deer and other animals in the vicinity of the bridge surprise quite often visitors. During the summer, fishermen on and under the bridge cast lines into the cool waters of the South Santiam River.
When we visited the bridge we were frightened by the alarming sound of several dogs howling loud in unison.  At first we didn't where the hair-raising sound was coming from.  We quickly retreated back to the car.  Once back in the car, we realized a private home across the bridge housed several large wolf-like dogs.  The presence of our four dogs alerted the pack.

Pynekone didn't care of the crazed pack across the river...he was fine just as long as he didn't have to get his feet wet.
To get there from Interstate 5, take the Albany exit, US Route 20 (exit 233) southeast through Lebanon and Sweet Home for 37 miles to Cascadia. West of the city limits of Cascadia, turn left at High Deck Road.

Goodpasture Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-10
Lane County
The Goodpasture Bridge was built in 1938 with the Howe truss design and spans 165 feet across the McKenzie River.
The covered bridge is considered to some as being one of the most beautiful and most photographed covered bridges in the state.
Designed by the State Highway Department and built by Lane County, the classical and timeless architecture of this bridge is accentuated by Gothic style windows on both sides of the structure.
At 165 feet, the span is the second longest existing covered bridge in Oregon.
Lane County spent $13,154 constructing the Goodpasture Bridge and is still reaping the benefits of a good investment.
To get there from Springfield, travel east on the McKenzie River Highway (Oregon Highway 126) for about 25.5 miles. Goodpasture Bridge is on Goodpasture County Road at Highway 126 just east of Vida.
Belknap Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-11
Lane County
The Belknap Bridge occupies a site in which a covered bridge has been in continuous use since 1890. The neighboring community recognized the importance of a river crossing at that location and the town adopted the name "McKenzie Bridge."  This bridge was the very difficult to photograph.  Private property doesn't allow you to get to the river to get a side view, and the area is very forested on both sides.
The third bridge at this site was destroyed in the famous 1964 flood.
The current Belknap Covered Bridge was built in 1966 with the Howe truss design and spans 120 feet across the McKenzie River.
The McKenzie River is one of the nation's most popular rivers to float down.  The above photo was taken through a window on the covered bridge.
The Belknap Covered Bridge is the furthest east of all Oregon "historic" Covered Bridges.
To get there from Springfield, take Highway 126 east approximately 46 miles heading towards the community of McKenzie Bridge. One mile west of the small town of Rainbow, turn south on McKenzie River Drive. Follow McKenzie River Drive for about 0.8 miles to King Road West.
Office Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-39
Lane County
The Office Covered Bridge was built in 1944 with the Howe truss design and spans 180 feet across the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River.
The bridge was built by the Westfir Lumber Company, the once site of a mill at the town of Westfir.  The wooden span was constructed strong for logging trucks and the bridge connected a lumber mill and its offices; hence its name.
The Office Covered Bridge is the longest existing covered bridge in Oregon. It is also painted the rare red, unique to Oregon's covered bridges.
The company-owned town, including the bridge, were sold to an investment company in 1977. In the early 1980s the mill burned and the bridge was closed to traffic.
In 1992 the bridge became the property of Lane County through tax foreclosure. Extensive repair work in 1992 stabilized the bridge condition, and in 2002, a new roof was added.
A distinctive feature of the span is the covered walkway separate from the roadway.  This features makes the Office Covered Bridge the only Oregon covered bridge that is both a traffic and pedestrian structure.

Because the bridge was built for carrying loaded log trucks, the truss members are gigantic with multiple tension rods and compound chord members. The house has horizontal shiplap siding.
Today the bridge and old mill grounds across the river are protected as a "city rest area" park.
To get there from Interstate 5, take Highway 58 east towards Oakridge. Just before entering Oakridge, near milepost 31, turn west onto Westridge Ave. Continue to Westfir on County Road 6128. Travel about 2.5 miles to the mill site, community and bridge.
East of the Cascades lies the Rock O' the Range Covered Bridge.  I am not including this bridge as an actual historic truss built covered bridge.  But if you want to go see it, Google it at
Rock O' The Range Covered Bridge.
West of the Cascades in Portland lies the other covered bridge not included in our travels.
To see it, Google it at
Cedar Crossing Covered Bridge.

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