Saturday, September 25, 2010

Replacing the Sellwood Bridge with "The Swan"

In the next three or four posts, I'm going share some sights, and insights, from Europe that seem relevant to Portland, and occasionally to Hillsdale and its environs.

In a recent three-week whirlwind tour, we visited Berlin (four days), the Danish isle of Aero (two days), Bremen, Germany, (for a layover) and Amsterdam (five days). Then Diane returned home and I went on to Rotterdam (for a day), took the overnight ferry to Hull on England's east coast and proceeded to Husthewaite (a village outside York) and Oxford (for a day).

As someone actively engaged in trying to better my own small community, I saw a lot to like on this trip. I wish I could bundle up what I saw and transplant much of it whole. An Amsterdam canal anyone?

I thought often of the contrasts in aesthetics and wondered how they reflect differences in cultural values. Why, for instance is it simply assumed that all utility wires will be undergrounded in the countries I visited? That billboards don't belong on autobahns or next to railway lines.

I could start in a lot of places with ideas, but Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge seems as good a place as any.

While Portland tries to decide what the Sellwood Bridge should look like or what to do about the "Columbia River Crossing," our leaders could do worse that consider the Erasmus Bridge (or in Dutch "Erasmusbrug"), which is so elegant that it is referred to as "The Swan." It makes the heart soar to behold it.

Today, it is a priceless, timeless beauty.

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