PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners is slated to vote on a new Sauvie Island Bridge name in late November to honor Indigenous people.
The vote, scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 30, comes one year after the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted to rename the bridge for Native American communities whose traditional home includes Sauvie Island. The county’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability and Innovation recommended the county to rename the bridge.
Commissioners convened the Bridge Renaming Council — which is made up of tribal representatives — to propose a name.
“I hope that other counties and municipalities can see the work that Multnomah County is doing, reaching out and developing partnerships with sovereign nations, specifically the tribes with historical ties to these lands,” Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Board Member Corinne Sams said. “I hope this is contagious, setting a precedent for all others to do the same.”
Multnomah County says it reached out to multiple tribes ahead of the renaming, with three tribes with ties to the island offering their expertise.
The bridge renaming also marks Multnomah County’s first formal consultation process with tribal governments.
“When we are making important decisions like this, they always should be led by our community,” Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson said. “It was something that made complete sense for Multnomah County, whose name we take from Indigenous communities, and helps us recognize there’s much more we can do.”
The recommended name is under review by tribal linguists to ensure accurate spelling and pronunciation before it is revealed to the public.
According to Multnomah County, Sauvie Island Bridge was built in 1950 and provided a gateway from urban and industrial areas to the agricultural island north of Portland. The bridge was later replaced in 2008 to support the weight of modern trucks and to improve lanes for vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, and to improve resistance to earthquakes.