EUGENE, Ore. — The I-5 Willamette River Bridge was officially named Saturday morning.
About a hundred people gathered at the Whilamut Natural Area in Alton Baker Park for the ceremony. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) read and signed the proclamation forever calling the bridge the Whilamut Passage Bridge. Various speakers spoke about the importance of this title.
“What we wanted to do was make sure that during our time here that we left a lasting impression on the community, some improvement that was more than just a bridge,” said Sonny Chickering, ODOT Region 2 Manager.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as a tribal people and creating that government to government relationship,” said tribal council member Jon George.
The name honors the area’s first indigenous people, the Kalapuya. Whilamut means where the river ripples and runs fast.