*All donations over $150 will include your very own copy of the book.
Bridges are a great topic upon which to build a rich curriculum for education, one that can touch on many diverse subjects. In the Portland Public Schools district, bridges have been taught as part of the third-grade social studies curriculum for over 50 years. However, while Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, are home to all three main bridge types and all three main movable bridge types, built by some of the most famous American bridge engineers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there has never yet been a book about these world-class bridges just for young readers and their teachers.
Using engaging imagery and easily navigable text, Big & Awesome Bridges aims to become a fun and invaluable resource to enrich the lives of the area’s children.
Full color pages with unique photographs and illustrations
Historical and contemporary facts about all 22 of the Portland and Vancouver area big river bridges, including four railway bridges
Details and photos of our our nine local footbridges
Interviews with bridge engineers and others
Bridge poetry and art from elementary students
Step-by-step instructions to build and load-test a truss bridge
Additional digital content will be available
A 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, PDX Bridge Festival’s mission is to raise public awareness and foster appreciation of Portland’s Willamette River Bridges through educational, historical, cultural and artistic programming. Our team consists of artists, event planners, local government, leading businesses, media partners, and Portland’s top audio/visual houses, and draws on wide creative talents to produce awe-inspiring public arts celebrations with longevity and magnetism.
A member of the PDX Bridge Festival Advisory Council, Sharon is the author of The Portland Bridge Book, first published in 1989. Since then she has taken 20,000 students and adults bridge walking, published a model bridge building and testing curriculum for elementary students, and created “BridgeStories—Storytelling Slide Show.” A former Oregon Chautauqua scholar, she was named the Journalist of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers Oregon Section in 2007, and has been the recipient of two Regional Arts & Culture Council project grants: one to produce and co-edit a book of poems about bridges by 70 poets, and the other to write “The Bridge Lady,” a one-woman show she performed in 2009. She has walked twice between the flagpoles on the Fremont Bridge, the latter climb, in 2009, culminating in the CD “Bridges! Bridges! Bridges!” with the booklet, “12 Steps for Climbing the Fremont Bridge.” Both walks, though she didn’t know it at the time, were warm-ups for her performance as part of the Moth Radio Hour at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in 2011 before a live audience of 2,500.
The co-author of The Portland Bridge Book (third ed., 2006), Ed moved to Portland in 1971 to work on the construction of the Fremont Bridge, the longest tied arch bridge in the world at the time. He later joined Multnomah County’s Bridge Section as Engineering Services Administrator. He was a major contributor and leader during several of the county’s Willamette River bridge projects, including the 1999 $22.7 million rehabilitation of the Hawthorne Bridge, the seismic evaluation of the county’s bridges, and a series of mechanical and structural renovations to the Broadway Bridge valued at more than $30 million. He is now helping the County with construction of the new Sellwood Bridge. Ed was named Civil Engineer of the Year in 2004 by the American Society of Civil Engineers Oregon section. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree in civil engineering/structures from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Harvard University.
Edith’s professional careers began in California teaching junior high school math, then continued as librarian at UC Berkeley and UCLA libraries. Later, in Oregon, she became a teacher librarian, working first at MLC and then as district librarian and system administrator for library automation for Portland Public Schools. Her interests include languages (in recent retirement, completing third year Danish at PSU), reading, gardening, and playing with paper, i.e., making movable books, creating special greeting cards, designing creative snowflake/stars for the winter season, and also presenting workshops on pop-ups, stars/snowflakes, small booklets, etc. to school library staff at Oregon Association of School Libraries conferences.
Nicole Zimmerman, vice president of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and President of the Portland State University student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, is a third year student in the Civil and Engineering Department at PSU.
Corey Castelow, a graduate of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Granby High School (Virginia), is now a second year environmental engineering major at PSU. The two are editing the design technology (Bridge in a Box) curriculum included in Big & Awesome, and acting as the outreach coordinators for SWE members being trained to go into elementary classrooms to help teachers and students in the Portland-Vancouver area build and load test wooden model truss bridges. Advising them is Tom Szymoniak, an instructor in the PSU Civil and Environmental Engineering department.
The Bridge Art Project is a combined effort of both Sabin School and ACCESS Academy. The Council of Greater Schools commissioned Christopher Lamp, the art specialist at Sabin and ACCESS, to help facilitate the creation of art for this project that became a theme for the Council of Great Schools conference held in Portland in 2010. As part of The Big & Awesome Bridge book, 14 new artistic bridges have now been created to complete the Bridge Art Project series. Some of these images have already found their way onto the Portland Bridges poster (available at Powell’s Bookstore) to benefit the publishing of the book.
A third grade teacher at DA Grout Elementary School in Portland, Lisa enjoys the challenges of making curriculum material accessible to ALL of the students in her room.
The recipient of the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, given to a person or organization whose contributions have enriched Oregon’s literary community. Laursen is a writer, designer, printer and publisher who is the owner of Press-22, which publishes finely designed books and does text-based public art projects. Laursen has worked on the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, the Walk of the Heroines at Portland State, and memorials for John Reed and Hazel Hall. He is the co-author, with Terry Toedtemeier, of Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia Gorge 1867-1957.
*In-kind service provided for the donation.