If you have ever spent time in Cottage Grove as either a resident or a visitor, chances are extraordinarily high that you have had the wonderful experience of crossing the Coast Fork of the Willamette River by the quirky, iconic, and much-loved Swinging Bridge.
This storied town treasure has been in the same general location for almost 120 years. Cottage Grove's first druggist, Polk Currin, built a trestle bridge at the turn of the century to give access from his residence on the west side of the river to Currin Park on the east side. That bridge lasted 20 years and when came time to rebuild, a cable ”swinging” style was selected and sited two blocks north to its current location.
In all there have been five different versions of the popular footbridge. The existing Swinging Bridge was built in 1965 to replace the one wiped out in the Christmas Flood of 1964. In September of 2016 a routine inspection by city-hired engineers revealed concerns that caused the City of Cottage Grove to close this popular pedestrian and bicycle pathway.
A group of concerned residents formed Friends of Cottage Grove Swinging Bridge to provide assistance as well as a bit of pressure to help get the bridge back into operation. Says organizer Dana Merryday, ”The Swinging Bridge is the one thing that everyone that I have spoken with agrees on: Grovers really want their bridge back.”
If you would like to do something to help, please join us at the Swing the Bridge benefit to help support the restoration of the bridge, from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 at the Cottage Grove Armory. This is a real community gathering to raise awareness and hopefully some funds, so we are calling on all residents from South Lane County to join us.
You can help support grants the city is pursuing by writing a letter describing how much the bridge means to you; learn some history at the great display from the Cottage Grove Historical Society and Museum; leave a story or memory on the Swinging Bridge Story Wall; and help raise funds for the Swinging Bridge Special City Trust Fund with our silent auction/raffle.
There will also be music by The Huckleberrys, Flies with Honey, and the Rock'n Reveleers, dancing and good fellowship with your fellow Swinging Bridge Friends.
Please bring an item for the potluck and anything you can spare to help the bridge. Hope to see you and all the surrounding community at Swing the Bridge!