- Adam Wickham
A trial began this week over the millions of dollars Multnomah County lost by buying a defective surface for the Morrison Bridge.
In his opening statements to a jury, attorney Joel Mullins—a private lawyer tapped to represent the county in the case, for a sum of money the county has so far refused to reveal—spoke of the insane, worrisome damage that's befallen that deck just three years after it was installed. It was supposed to last 75 years or longer, he said. It began showing damage in mere months.
One thing Mullins didn't mention to the jury, because perhaps he didn't know: There have been fresh horrors discovered beneath the Morrison's surface.
You'll recall that last month, Multnomah County announced it was shutting down the bridge's north-most lane indefinitely, because it was coming badly apart. There was a hope the severe damage might be confined to just that section of the bridge (and if you've got some time, you can read about how there are all sorts of shady questions surrounding the material used to deck that north lane).
But the north lane's not special. This afternoon, the county had to shut down the Morrison's southmost lane indefinitely because of newly found damage, according to a news release. That's a full third of the bridge now closed because of serious damage to its deck, and there's no sign what problems county engineers will find next.
Meanwhile, the county's dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into keeping the bridge open, according to Mullins.
Anyway, the bridge is more of a mess than we knew, and if that's not enough to keep you off of it, traffic's going to be slower over the Morrison because of the closures.