The colorful architectural lights on the Morrison Bridge have been replaced and are back and better than ever. Thanks to a partnership between the nonprofit Willamette Light Brigade (popularly known for their annual production of the Portland Winter Light Festival) and Multnomah County, the Lighting Partner program offers opportunities for private citizens and organizations to transform the city through nightly custom lighting on the piers of the County’s Morrison Bridge.
Because of a generous in-kind donation of new, updated LED lighting fixtures by Griven USA and Northern Illumination Company, LLC, the Morrison Bridge lights have been replaced. The new lights are brighter and three times more efficient than the previous lights, initially installed in 2009. Modest fees from public lighting partners and applicants ensure that this program operates without the use of taxpayer funds.
Since 2009, organizations as diverse as World AIDS Day, Down Syndrome Awareness, Prevent Child Abuse Oregon, Work Zone Safety, and various sporting events have taken advantage of this program. Residents may recall moments in the city’s history when the piers of the Morrison Bridge shone bright purple to commemorate the life of musical artist Prince, or the many times the Willamette River reflected colorful lights to share causes, passions, and love of art and expression with the entire city.
With the pandemic requiring social distancing and an ongoing restriction on events, program organizers hope that both private individuals and public institutions will take advantage of the returned program to share their messages with the city in a safe and fun way.
“The Willamette River and its bridges have always created a sense of identity for Portland,” says Ed Slavin, Chair of the Willamette Light Brigade Board of Directors, and owner of Northern Illumination Company, LLC, a local lighting manufacturer’s representative. “We seek to provide an opportunity for organizations and individuals to enhance our city’s night-time experience and put their own colors out for the world to see. Lighting the Morrison Bridge is a great way to participate in civic discourse.”
To book your personal color scheme on the Morrison Bridge, visit www.lightthebridges.org and review available dates. Fees begin at $150 per day with discounts for multiple-day orders on consecutive dates. Synchronized lighting displays will be available later this year.
About the Willamette Light Brigade: The Willamette Light Brigade is a Portland, OR based nonprofit committed to connecting community and enriching the public realm by harnessing the power of art and artful lighting to transform the cityscape. Founded in 1986, the Willamette Light Brigade illuminates bridges, produce the dynamic Portland Winter Light Festival, and advocates for the importance of night-time identity and place-making in Portland, OR.