The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For The Sentinel 

Dark doings under the 'Singing Bridge'

 

August 29, 2018



A major portion of the Aug. 20 Goldendale City Council meeting was taken up with a presentation by Peter Andress and Terry Stone. They told the council via a Power Point presentation that local residents on Pipeline Drive have serious concerns that the “singing bridge” has created an attractive nuisance.

“The area under the bridge draws large numbers of unsupervised juveniles and young adults during the dry months of the year,” Stone said while narrating the presentation.

Individuals using the area are, he said:

• Smoking and tossing their cigarettes into the weeds around the bridge abutments

• Engaging in illicit substance use

• Trespassing onto adjacent private property

• Harassing and threatening landowners who hold property adjacent to the bridge

• Littering and leaving personal items under the bridge, along Pipeline Road, and on private property

• Climbing onto and under the bridge and pedestrian walkway superstructures

• Attaching ropes to the underside of the bridge deck

• Engaging in noisy and dangerous play and other activities

• Disturbing and intimidating legitimate users of the Ekone Park trails

As a secondary effect, cars are parking on the east shoulder of Pipeline Road instead of using the swimming pool/park access parking, which is only a block away. The result is they frequently block the road, leave large amounts of litter and risk setting dry grass on fire with their exhausts.

Both Stone and Andress noted that people have trespassed on their property and threatened them and their wives when asked to leave. They praised the efforts of Chief Reggie Bartkowski and Sheriff Bob Songer to reduce traffic in the area but said much more needed to be done.

They also pointed out that the city has a high liability exposure as people tie ropes to the bridge, swing out over the river, and let go. That could result in serious injuries, they noted, showing sections of concrete rebar sticking out of the water and on the banks

Among the piles of trash residents have found empty blister packs of prescription drugs and 22 cans of Redi-Whip whipped cream, which drug users sniff to huff the nitrous oxide propellant.

Stone said the neighbors didn't come just with complaints and outlined suggested solutions, including sealing off and posting the underside of the bridge against unauthorized access. They suggested a “break-away” structure of hog-wire or chain-link around the areas that people climb, saying that such a treatment is inexpensive and won’t hurt the budget if damaged or destroyed by high water. They also wanted signs no climbing and no trespassing signs on the bridge and no parking signs on the east shoulder of Pipeline Drive.

Finally, they suggested the city “add enough personnel to Public Works to handle requests by citizens of Goldendale.” They said citizens have been told Public Works only has enough manpower to respond to “problems that could kill or injure, ” and said Public Works should have been able to handle this issue without having to trouble the City Council with it. They noted Goldendale currently has five employees in that department and concluded the department needs “at least nine,” They added they were are willing to see rates and taxes increased modestly if it will provide a budget that will improve response.

Council members indicated support for many of the suggestions but would have to do some consulting on details.

 

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