Barbara Walker Crossing

Submitted by Ed Carpenter


Client: Portland Parks Foundation/City of Portland, OR

Location: Portland, OR, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $4,050,000

Project Team


Ed Carpenter


Jeff Anderson, Retired

Portland Parks Foundation


Charlie Hales, Former Mayor

City of Portland, OR

Industry Resource

Craig Totten

KPFF Engineers

Landscape Architects

Nathan Kappen



Wildwood Trail/West Burnside Pedestrian Bridge, Portland, OR 2012
180’ x 12’ x 8’
Welded, painted CorTen steel structure, fiberglass deck grating, stone paving at North landing
Budget: $4,050,000


Portland’s Wildwood Trail winds 30 miles through parks along the western edge of the city, rarely crossing roads. For many years, the busiest road crossing was a major arterial, where runners and walkers had to negotiate three lanes of traffic with short sight lines. In 2011, Ed Carpenter initiated the bridge project and created the design to blend seamlessly with the experience of the trail. Carpenter was himself a 40-year trail runner and “survivor of the crossing at West Burnside”. He had already designed a number of unusually expressive bridges in addition to his monumental sculpture commissions around the world.
Carpenter’s design evokes imagery of the sword ferns and vine maples lining the entire length of the trail, while honoring the following design objectives:
• Seamless experience for walkers/runners
• Fit into forest context
• Minimally intrusive
• Transparent/delicate
• Iconic/original
• Reasonable cost
• Off-site fabrication & quick erection
• Easy to maintain


Carpenter spent two years studying different schemes, collaborating with engineers, and promoting the project on his own in meetings with more than twenty neighborhood groups, non-profits, City Commissioners, City bureaus, and Mayor Charlie Hales, before convincing Portland Parks Foundation to take on the role of sponsor.