The four, colorful hand-knitted panels currently billowing over the Broadway Bridge in Portland are a community-art project meant to honor the bridge’s 100th birthday.

Four panels consist of 42 color blocks, and each of the panels weighs 50 pounds.

In late August, when those blankets, knitted from Cascade Superwash wool, come down, they are going to be separated into more than 40 individual blankets, washed and donated to several organizations serving the homeless population in the Portland metro area, including Clackamas Women’s Services.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: CHARLIE VAWTER - The project Bridge for Blankets, helping celebrate the 100th year of the Broadway Bridge, includes 1,512 one-foot squares. Organizers of the project are part of a Broadway block party, Aug. 10; for info, go to“We are very grateful for this donation from Bridge for Blankets.  It is encouraging to know that the greater community is willing to show their support for women and children who are staying in our shelter,” said Melissa Erlbaum, executive director at CWS.  

“For families escaping violence in their households, our shelter is able to offer a safe haven and support services as people begin to rebuild their lives. Through this donation, we are able to provide just a little more comfort to families in trouble, while also showing our participants that our community believes that family violence is an important issue that needs to be addressed.”

The best way to view the blankets it to attend a block party on Aug. 10 at Northwest Broadway and Hoyt from noon to 7 p.m. For details, visit

Because Bridge for Blankets was a public-art project, project leader Tyler Mackie, a 32-year-old Northeast Portland resident, did not want the nearly 100 volunteer knitters to have to pay for the yarn. She took out a loan, and purchased the yarn in bulk at a discount, but still needs donations to pay off the loan.

A hand-knitted afghan will be raffled off at 3 p.m. during the block party, and Mackie will be on hand to collect other donations.

Tyler Mackie hopes people will come to the block party and enjoy the blankets, which are “billowing like sails.”

She added, “It will be a day for everyone to get together as a city and county to celebrate and honor this county-maintained bridge that has served us for 100 years.”

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