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Iconic crossing taken down

Thomson bridgeVIDA: The Thomson “swinging bridge” came down with a splash on Monday. Originally built in the 1930’s the bridge connected south bank residents with the outside world. Crews from Stayton Construction used cable cutters, chainsaws and an excavator to remove the privately owned structure around 10:15 a.m.  in response to safety concerns.

From the November 29, 1985 issue of McKenzie River Reflections - “GOODPASTURE ROAD in 1940’s” Courtesy Vida-McKenzie Neighborhood Watch Newsletter.When the Goodpasture Bridge was built in 1938 the road only extended 1/2 mile or so beyond the bridge. There were only a few families living on the south side of the river that crossed on swinging foot bridges. Supples were packed, pulled and pushed across the foot bridges too.

There was a foot bridge at Thomson’s Lodge (now the Skeen Place), at the Beyerlin Place (now Ruth Buck’s home) and one at the Goodpasture Place.

In 1940 Littlepage Logging Company came to this area to log a timber sale in the Gale Creek drainage. They first had to build a road from the Goodpasture Bridge to the logging site up Gale Creek. In the beginning the road was accessible mostly to trucks. It was often too muddy and full of ruts and big holes for auto travel. The logging crew would generally leave their cars at Thomson’s Boat Landing and walk the swinging bridge and on into the logging camp. This swinging bridge often proved quite a challenge for a few loggers after a night at the Vida Saturday Night dances.

Little pages built a logging camp in the area where Heather Keeling now lives. The camp consisted of a cookhouse and an office. The men stayed in camp during the week - going home most weekends.

Thomsons built some cabins and a store for families who lived at the camp. In those days logging companies didn’t run “crummies” from town to the logging sites.

In 1942 the logging job finished and Littlepage Logging Company moved out. The remains of some of the bunkhouses, cookhouses and cabins can still be seen showing some forty-some years of deterioration.

Once again logging is going on in that area and logs are being hauled down Goodpasture Road. Little does the modern truck driver realize the trials and tribulations of those first truck drivers who mastered the ruts, potholes and mud of Goodpasture Road in the early 1940’s.

Lane County took mover the upkeep of the road after the logging company moved out. It was paved in 1968 and now the families living along Goodpasture Road find it hard to believe that if they traveled this road forty-five years ago they could well have been “stuck in a mudhole” instead of speeding along toward home.


McKenzie River Reflections


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