Lewis & Clark College Walking Bridge

Lewis & Clark College is a small college located in SW Portland, Oregon. The college began working with Minarik Architecture, Inc. in 2017 to replace an aging 6-span bridge that connected the Howard Hall area on the south side of the campus to the Reflecting Pool and Rose Garden scenic area of campus. Minarik Architecture, Inc. conceptualized an open-air timber bridge with an “industrial feel” and with the college turned to WWS for design ideas. The bridge was required to span an environmentally sensitive area so upgrading the existing bridge and supports would have led to permitting issues, construction delays, and possibly higher costs. A clear-span bridge was the best viable option for the college and the solution offered by WWS was a 188’ clear-span Parallel Chord Truss bridge with a covered roof system that features Cross Laminated Timber (CLT*).

The new bridge is comprised of pressure treated Industrial Grade Douglas fir Glulam beams and was engineered with (3) splices to facilitate treating and shipping. The steel and hardware for all the member connections was specified as A-588 weathering steel and a weathering steel panelized system with a stainless finish ADA grab rail was used for the rails.

Due to a steep ravine, environmental concerns, and adjacent 100’+ trees, the site was delicate and nearly inaccessible. The bridge design and installation required significant thought and planning to address the constructability issues. The existing bridge was scheduled for demolition but it carried a sewer line that needed to remain in place. It could not be dissembled or shut down even on a temporary basis during construction of the new bridge.

WWS crews assembled a 60’ section of the bridge on the high (north) side of the ravine before swinging it into place. The existing bridge, which WWS crews used as a work platform, was reinforced at one of the existing timber bents allowing a temporary resting spot for this new 60’ section.

The remaining 128’ bridge section was assembled on the low (south) side of the ravine and swung into pace with a 360-ton crane. This crane traveled down a sparsely used road to access the site, leaving just 1” of clearance on either side of the crane. The crane operator did a masterful job of setting the pre-assembled bridge sections and CLT roof panels (see video).

After the existing bridge was demolished and the sewer line was detached and re-attached to the new bridge, WWS crews returned to the site to complete installation of the deck panels. After 2+ years of planning and 6+ months of construction, the new bridge opened for pedestrian use in February of 2019.

WWS offers a special thank-you to Michel George of Lewis & Clark College for teaming with and believing in local engineering and construction firms to tackle this challenging project. Precision Construction Company acted as General Contractor. Thank-you to Paul Drew, Jay Marsh, and Mike Telling for their commitment to this project and for placing their trust in WWS. 

*CLT is the relatively new and innovative product of layering solid-sawn members together with each layer orientated perpendicular to adjacent layers, achieving higher levels of rigidity in both X and Y axis directions (think plywood, but 10-15 times thicker).  To date, CLT panels have been used for floor and wall systems of both low and high-rise buildings (up to 17 stories so far), as CLT panels are typically fully pre-fabricated prior to shipment to reduce jobsite assembly hours/costs.

A Year in Review…

Nearly three years have passed since my last blog posting.

The truth is we’ve been swamped here at Western Wood Structures but I’m not too busy to make mention of three WWS projects that won
awards in 2018.

Western Wood Structures recently completed construction of a Glulam building in Portland, Oregon, that is used to store potash, a product that is mined in Eastern Canada. It is shipped by rail to Portland where it is reclaimed and stored until ready to be loaded on to ships. Potash is highly corrosive to metal so wood is the ideal building product.

potash-shed-constructionCustom designed and manufactured Glulam Arches are spaced at 24’ centers and clear-span the 174-foot width. The building measures 174’ x 624’ and has a height of 136’ at the peak. The timber frame was engineered, supplied, and installed by WWS. This building received a NW regional award from ENR as best Airport/Transit project of 2018.


The completion of the Foothills National Trail in the state of Washington took about 32 years from start to finish. Foothills National Recreational Trail bridgeWestern Wood Structures engineered and erected a unique timber bridge that connects Pierce County to Buckley. This bridge is on the trail that recently was awarded an outstanding Trail Award by the Washington State Trails Coalition. It is part of a Rails to Trails project and is situated on the site where there was once a railroad trestle.


blue goos convenience store The Blue Goose Market in Lake Oswego, Oregon was a project that was in the planning and development stages for 6 or 7 years. It was recently named Best Original Design by Convenience Store News. The building features exposed Glulam trusses that were fabricated and supplied by WWS.



I will try to keep you better informed in 2019. We have a lot going on these days and a lot to be proud of.

Brentwood Country Club

Located in a residential area of west Los Angeles and just minutes from the Pacific Ocean, the Brentwood Country Club is home to a challenging 18-hole golf course. When the course superintendent determined that new bridges were needed to cross some ravines, their architect contacted Western Wood Structures.  WWS presented […] Read more »

George Fox University Bridge

Located within a 15 minute drive of our facility, George Fox University is one of the top ranked Christian universities in the country. Their outstanding reputation for academics and athletic success is well known in this area. The result is record growth and an enrollment that is approaching 4,000 students. […] Read more »

Hamlin Farms

              When the owners of this century old farm in Corvallis, Oregon, decided they needed a shady place to relax after long days harvesting crops, they called the experts at Western Wood Structures. The result was this handsome Glulam patio cover that rises above […] Read more »

Backyard Patio Cover

When the owners of this residence in Tualatin, Oregon decided to remodel their home, their contractor turned to the experts at Western Wood Structures for assistance with the roof system above their backyard patio. The result was this handsome structure which features Glulam trusses with curved top chords.     […] Read more »

Fort Belvoir Suspension Bridge

Accotink Wildlife Refuge is a 1,200 acre property located on the grounds of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia. Fort Belvoir was originally opened during WWI and is the largest employer in Fairfax County with more employees than even the Pentagon. Over the years it has served as headquarters for […] Read more »

Peaked and Cambered Glulams

Building designers are offered creative ways in which to utilize Glulam in the construction of their buildings. Glulams have been popular over the years because of their versatility in timber construction and because of their aesthetic appeal. The use of Peaked and Cambered Glulams (also known as Pitched and Tapered) […] Read more »

The Bridges at Martis Camp

Martis Camp is a 2,177 acre private luxury community located between Truckee, California and North Lake Tahoe. The community offers a wide variety of both indoor and outdoor seasonal activities to family members of all ages. An 18 hole championship golf course designed by Tom Fazio is available to members. […] Read more »

Remembering Bob Kennedy

The timber construction industry lost one of its great ones when Bob Kennedy passed away over the summer. Bob was employed as one of our field superintendents. Bob began his career at the young age of 16 under the tutelage of his father Slim Kennedy. They were employed by Tim […] Read more »