PORTLAND -- Portland's newest bridge across the Willamette River is now officially called "Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People."
The new name was announced in a ceremony along the waterfront Wednesday at around 10:30 a.m.
A committee charged with sorting through nearly 9,500 name suggestions for the new Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge chose from these four finalists:
Abigail Scott Duniway: A turn of the century activist who fought for women's rights and children's causes.
Cascadia: A name used to refer to the greater Pacific Northwest, based off the Cascade Mountain Range, and popularized in a book about a fictional West Coast environmental separatist utopia.
Tilikum Crossing: Referencing a Native American term for 'common people.'
Wy'east: A Native American term for Mount Hood, suggested as a bridge name by Vernon Elementary third-grader Luke Hendrikson.
Committee Chair and historian Chet Orloff said the Native American name was selected as the top choice because it holds the “most promise to connect the people of our region today with the long past of people who have been here for thousands of years, and to connect with future generations.”
More whimsical suggestions, like naming the bridge after the late street performer Kirk Reeves, despite their popularity, were dismissed by the committee. This marked the first time in Portland history that the public had been asked to suggest names for a bridge.
Orloff added that it was "not a popularity contest."
The bridge is part of a new $1.5 billion, 7-mile Portland-Milwaukie light rail line. The bridge will be the largest in the nation to carry transit, pedestrians, bikes but no private cars or trucks.
The bridge was estimated to cost $134 million and was expected to open in Sept. of 2015.