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Billboard campaign could make Jean-Luc Picard the face of Tilikum Crossing

UPDATE: Owen Lingley's Kickstarter campaign failed, in the best Capt. Picard-ism, to Make It So. The campaign ended in late September and raised $2,785 of his $5,000 goal. He had 67 backers when the campaign ended.

COURTESY OF KICKSTARTER - Should we rename the Tilikum Crossing the Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing? A Portland businessman thinks the name has a nice futuristic ring to it.Owen Lingley is really a serious guy.

But Owen Lingley wants Portlanders to go, well, where no city has gone before.

This really serious guy wants us to call TriMet’s new Tilikum Crossing: Bridge of the People, by another, more futuristic name: The Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing.

And, this really serious guy is trying to raise $5,000 to put up billboards around the city with big pictures of the Star Trek character, all to convince Portlanders to call the bridge the Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing.

The 36-year-old Portland business owner is about halfway to his goal, with $2,360 in pledges from 49 backers for his Kickstarter bridge-renaming billboard campaign. He has 10 days left to raise the money. Rewards include pins with the Wunder Crossing image and T-shirts, sweatshirts and bumperstickers with the image.

Lingley explains the Kickstarter project this way:

"Someone with the bold confidence, silky baritone voice, and perfect diction necessary to lift humanity to greater heights than were ever dreamed possible. That man, dear Portlanders, is Jean-luc Picard. Just weird enough to make the rest of the country say 'dammit Portland!' — and give us a smug sense of satisfaction as we roll across on our tall bikes, unicycles or rollerskates. A bridge named for the future’s most debonair Starfleet captain will inspire us to strive for a future as bright as the gleam shining off the sexy bald pate of the 24th century’s greatest hero."

Latch onto it

Lingley didn’t suggest anything last year when TriMet asked the public to help name the new Willamette River crossing. But the Brooklyn neighborhood resident saw the Jean-Luc Picard Wonder Crossing name on the list of thousands of rejected suggestions and decided it should be the bridge’s real name. (The rejected name was "Wonder Crossing." Lingley spells his idea "Wunder Crossing.")

About 10,000 names were suggested for the new bridge, including Jeff Bridges The Bridge, the Jerry Garcia Memorial Bridge, the Captain Kirk Reeves Memorial Bridge, the Bridge of Roses, the Vera Katz Bridge, the Car-Free Bridge, Chief Multnomah Bridge, Chinook Crossing, Feelin’ Groovy Commuter Bridge, Gov. Tom McCall Peace Train Crossing, the Maurice Lucas Bridge and the Lisa Simpson Bridge (a nod to “Simpsons” creator and native Portlander Matt Groening).

Finalists selected by a 10-member citizen committee included Tilikum Crossing: Bridge of the People, the Abigal Scott Duniway Transit Bridge, the Cascadia Crossing Transit Bridge and Wy’east Transit Bridge.

It doesn’t matter to Lingley that Jean-Luc Picard Wonder Crossing didn’t make the cut. “I heard that name and it made me laugh,” he says. “I think it’s weird enough that I hope people will latch onto it.”

TriMet’s 1,720-foot-long Tilikum Crossing opened Saturday, Sept. 12, to a huge city party. It was part of a celebration for the new 7.4-mile Orange light-rail line from downtown Portland to Milwaukie and Oak Grove.

The $140 million bridge is the newest Willamette River crossing in 42 years, and the first built in the city that carries only trains, streetcars, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists. No private cars are allowed on the structure.

Even if you’re not a big sci-fi fan, most people know that Jean-Luc Picard is the Starship Enterprise captain in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” British actor Sir Patrick Stewart, an honorary associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, lived the role from 1988 to 1994. He reprised Capt. Picard in movies “Star Trek: First Contact” and “Star Trek: Insurrection.”

Today, the 75-year-old Stewart stars in Starz Entertainment’s “Blunt Talk,” in which he portrays a hard-drinking, smack-talkin’ talk show host with a (sometimes) heart of gold.

Don’t think Lingley is just some jokester trying to have fun. He owns two brewing-related businesses with about 25 employees: Craft Canning, which helps local breweries and vintners put their beer and wine in cans; and Imperial Organic Yeast, a Gresham-area lab that grows organically certified yeast for brewers.

“Honestly, I’m a pretty serious guy these days,” Lingley says. “I’m doing this because I like to laugh, and I don’t get to laugh as much as I used to.”

Think of the future

Lingley’s plan is to: No. 1, raise $5,000 through Kickstarter; No. 2, buy billboard space around the city; No. 3, put up Jean-Luc Picard’s image with the Wunder Crossing name; and, No. 4, hope for the best.

He doesn’t have legal permission to use Stewart’s image as Capt. Picard, but Lingley hopes that won’t be a big problem. “Technically, it’s an art project, so I think you can get away with it,” he says.

Will TriMet actually change the bridge’s name so soon? “I doubt it,” Lingley says. “But I’m not sure we need them to go along with it.”


“It’s surprisingly easy to get a giant billboard put up,” he says. “TriMet said they were going to let people name the bridge, and this was one of the names that didn’t get picked. So, I thought it would be great to just call it that.”

An early idea was to hang a giant banner with the suggested name from the bridge, but Lingley quickly nixed that plan. “I’d probably get arrested and it would end up costing me about as much as putting up a couple of big billboards, so I decided to go with the billboards,” he says.

Even though it’s a wacky $5,000 idea, Lingley insists he’s doing it all with a wink wink nod nod.

“I think they did a great job of designing the bridge, and I think honestly it deserves a name like this so when people look at it, they think of the future,” he says.

Kevin L. Harden is digital media editor for Pamplin Media Group. 503-546-5167. email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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