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TriMet is starting a process to name the new transit bridge over the Willamette River that is being built as part of the Portland to Milwaukie Light Rail Line project.

The bridge is the first span over the Willamette River in over 40 years. TriMet officials say they understand the naming process will attract a high degree of interest from the regional community, based on historical, geographic, navigational and cultural factors.

TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch says the regional transit agency anticipates naming a small “blue ribbon” committee this summer which will assist in the bridge naming process. Proposed members include the former executive director of the Oregon Historical Society, a TriMet board member, a representative of a river users group, and other regional members who will bring a broad perspective to the naming process.

TriMet’s Customer Information Services Department will also develop a public information and participation campaign about naming the bridge, perhaps based on the process the Oregon Zoo uses to name new animals in its collection. The goal of the process is to have a name selected by the end of 2014, in order to meet the deadline for project naming conventions for stations and other geographic markers.

The $134 million bridge is part of the $1.5 billion project providing MAX service between downtown Portland and Milwaukie and Oak Grove in Clackamas County. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

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