The bridge was built in 1930-31 to connect the growing industrial area on the west bank of the Willamette River to the St. Johns neighborhood on the east. At the time, it was somewhat controversial given its distance from downtown, but eventually proponents for the bridge won out. The two towers rise 408 feet into the air, making it the tallest bridge in Portland (although the deck of the Fremont Bridge is higher). Below the bridge, several support columns rise over 200 feet, making the bridge feel particularly monumental from ground level.
Well worth the drive from downtown, St. Johns Bridge is a must-visit for bridge geeks (like myself). While not as impressively huge as the Golden Gate, it is still a very impressive bridge, and the ability to get up close makes it seem even larger. Pack a picnic basket and make a day of it.