In anticipation of its imminent grand opening, to traffic, November 11, 1973 was declared Peoples Day on the Fremont Bridge (The Oregonian, 12 November 1972).
Braving a rainy, gusty day, Portlander walked, jogged or bicycled over the Fremont Bridge Sunday, celebrating its grand opening and its first and last day as a “people place.”
Moving out of a wind-whipped shuttle stop at the bridge’s east end, a place of instant craft shops and hot dog stands, pedestrians explored the $82 million span which will open to traffic Nov. 15.
It was easy to ignore the weather, however, in activities of this “Peoples Day.” From morning until evening, taxpayers enjoyed such diversities as crew racing, square dancing, and Finnish-American singing.
Others had more personal business. Old people seemed interested in examining the bolts, new cement and the paint job; stopping to look at new city views.
Youngsters seemed intent on going back and forth. Bill Fuller Jr., 5, and his brother Mark, 2, were perhaps the first tricyclists over the bridge. “They can brag about it someday,” said their father.
Steve Wood, 12, Milwaukie, and Randy Peterson, 13, Portland, defied winds to traverse the span several times on unicycles. “You do it very carefully,” said Steve.
And of course there were Tri-Met buses, balloons, a couple of dog fights and, under foot, the brand new bridge everyone came to see.
The bridge opened to automobile traffic on November 15, 1973.
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