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Another Vista Bridge suicide

A week after Transportation Commission Steve Novick unveiled a plan to prevent suicides at the Vista Bridge, police says a man jumped to his death from it Tuesday morning.

The name of the victim was not immediately available.

According to police, at 4:56 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to the report of a suicide from the Vista Bridge. Officers arrived and located a deceased male on Southwest Jefferson Street below the bridge.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner responded and took custody of the body to conduct an autopsy and make a positive identification.

Last Tuesday, Novick announced Tuesday morning that he is ordering the immediate construction of a 9-foot-tall mesh screen on both sides of the bridge as an interim remedy that can be in place until a longer term solution and funding can be found.

“Unfortunately, this beautiful and elegant bridge has been known as Suicide Bridge since its construction in the 1920s. It is time – past time – to stop the dying,” said Novick, who is charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

According to Novick, construction of the screen mesh fence will begin in mid-July and take approximately two weeks at a cost of about $236,000.

To deter climbing, the fencing is designed with a tight weave and a curved overhang. It will be installed along the inside of the bridge railing and can be removed at any time with no permanent impact on the structure, in keeping with the bridge’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.The

Under the City Code, a commissioner can declare an emergency when the public’s safety is endangered, a move that allows immediate action.

Novick noted that in the first six months of this year, three people, including a 15-year-old girl, have jumped to their deaths from the bridge, matching the highest rate from any recent year, and that this record has created a substantial threat to the welfare and safety of the public above and below the bridge.