A group in Portland is urging lawmakers to erect a barrier at the “suicide bridge” in order to stop people from jumping to their deaths.
According to Yahoo News, the Vista Bridge near downtown Portland is known to locals as the “suicide bridge.” Several people have jumped to their deaths from the bridge in recent months and now Portlanders are asking officials to do something about it.
The group, called “Friends of the Vista Bridge,” are asking the city to construct small barriers to prevent future suicides.
Kenneth Kahn, who started the group with his wife Bonnie, said: “As majestic as the bridge is, the darker side of it is it’s a killing machine. People end their lives here.”
Kahnm an attorney, has an office that is located near the bridge and said that he has heard too many bodies hit the pavement outside of his window.
Kahn said: “It’s unmistakable when you hear it … There’s no need to verify what it is. You know what it is …. Just imagine a human being detonating.”
City officials appear to support the idea but commissioner Steve Novick said that there are other issues that the city has to consider. For one, the city is currently facing a $20 million budget shortfall and may not be able to spend money on the barriers at “suicide bridge.” The Vista Bridge is also a historical landmark which means that any barriers would have to be “architecturally accurate.
Novick said: “We certainly think of it as a high priority. But there’s a whole mess of competing priorities and not much money.”
At least 17 people have committed suicide from the Vista Bridge in the last decade. In the last month, a 40-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl both jumped to their deaths from the bridge.
Opponents of the barriers say that people who want to end their lives are going to do so whether or not there is a barrier in the way. The Friends of the Vista Bridge argue, however, that a small barrier may get someone to think twice about their decision.