Under the Depoe Bay Bridge

When I was Depoe Bay last week to do a story on saltwater taffy (Oregon Coast Today, next Friday), I headed across Highway 101 to use the restroom at the whale watching center. Usually you can visit the facility downstairs, then head upstairs for a great view of the ocean and a chance to see a whale. Or you can stay on the main floor and peruse the whale museum and the gift shop. But not this time. A sign on the door told me the building is closed for renovations.

Sigh. Behind me stood a big tan port-a-potty. It was like going to the bathroom on the freeway, but when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.

Afterward, as I started back toward the road, but I noticed a set of stairs heading in a direction I had never been. The stairs led me under the Depoe Bay Bridge, where the view was fascinating, the bridge posts framing the world’s smallest navigable harbor. The thick concrete muffled the sounds of the cars driving over me and shielded me from the light rain. A sea gull roosted in one corner, a pigeon in another.

I never thought much about the Depoe Bay Bridge. Last October, Newport went crazy as the Yaquina Bay Bridge celebrated its 75th anniversary, but the Depoe Bay Bridge, also the work of famous bridge engineer Conde McCullough, is older. 
The original 312-foot long bridge with its 150-foot arch was built in 1927. It was expanded in 1940 to accommodate four lanes of traffic. Eighty-five years later, here I am walking underneath with my little digital camera. When last year’s tsunami hit, it damaged the nearby docks, but the bridge stood strong, as it has all these years. I’m so glad I took those stairs.

All contents copyright 2012 Sue Fagalde Lick