The Union Street Railroad Bridge
Salem Bridge Receives National Historic Preservation Award

Tues., Apr. 12, 2011 – Salem, Ore. – Salem’s Union Street Railroad Bridge Conversion Project was recently selected to receive a national preservation award from the Victorian Society in America. The project was selected “for the remarkable restoration of this obsolete 1913 structure and for its adaptive reuse as a pedestrian and bicycle crossing that has become a popular community destination.” The award, a hand-lettered and illuminated calligraphy certificate, will be presented to the City of Salem, at the Society’s annual meeting on Sun., May 29, at the Embassy Suites Downtown Hotel in Portland, Ore.

“This historic preservation award is a great honor for the City of Salem. It recognizes the innovation, design, community involvement and federal, state and City collaboration that made this project what it is today,” said Salem Mayor, Anna Peterson. “Congratulations to the Council and all the staff who worked so diligently to bring this bridge to life for our community. It is truly a bridge to community enhancement.”

The Union Street Railroad Bridge was built across the Willamette River in 1912-13 by Southern Pacific Railway to connect Salem to the West Willamette Valley. The bridge was acquired by Union Pacific Railroad in 1996 and was purchased by the City of Salem for one dollar in 2004. The bridge was put on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2006. In April 2008, reconstruction began on the historic landmark. On May 15, 2010, the restored bridge was re-opened to the public as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge providing a critical half-mile link between Wallace Marine (114 acres) and Riverfront (23 acres) which book-end this bridge. The project has connected the parks’ trail systems into a single, safe, and family-friendly network and has improved bicycle and pedestrian safety and accessibility in Salem. The bridge encourages the use of alternative transportation modes and promotes healthy forms of exercise for both local and out-of-town users. The project has been the recipient of several awards including the National Transportation Planning Excellence award, the Oregon Heritage Excellence award, and the Engineering Excellence Grand award for Transportation.

The Victorian Society in America is the only national organization dedicated to the study and interpretation of the Victorian era, from 1837 to 1917. With sixteen chapters across the country, the Society organizes symposia on various topics in different locations; operates summer schools in Newport, RI and London, England; publishes the magazine Nineteenth Century and offers a variety of study tours and events throughout the year.

The City of Salem’s Urban Development Department is committed to enhancing community prosperity through an array of programs in its four major service areas: Real Property Services, Housing and Social Services, Economic Development and Downtown Revitalization. The Urban Development Department: manages the City’s urban renewal areas (URA) and redevelopment projects within the URAs; administers federally funded block grant and housing programs; provides loans and grants to eligible businesses, homeowners, and renters; and manages leases, acquires, and sells properties for the City.

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