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Morrison Bridge by Remaining Light photography
The Skanner News
Published: 05 June 2021

Portland, Oregon -- Thursday, June 3 2021-- On Monday, June 7, Portlanders crossing the Willamette River will notice electric magic in the air as the colorful Morrison Bridge will shine brightly purple, celebrating what would have been the 63rd birthday of legendary singer Prince Rogers Nelson.

This is the second time that the Morrison Bridge colors will be changed to honor Prince, as it was also lit purple to memorialize his passing 5 years ago on April 21, 2016.

Celebrating 'The Purple One'

“‘The Purple One’ was an uncompromising, unconventional artist with a permanent legacy. It’s only natural that Portlanders have a particular fondness for him. In 2016, the feedback we received from this tribute was resoundingly positive.

With the energy in the city becoming increasingly celebratory as Portland reopens, we wanted to bring a bit of sparkle to the city again,” says Willamette Light Brigade Executive Director Alisha Sullivan.

Thanks to a partnership between the nonprofit Willamette Light Brigade (popularly known for their annual production of the Portland Winter Light Festival) and Multnomah County, the Lighting Partner program offers opportunities for private citizens and organizations to transform the city through nightly custom lighting on the piers of the County’s Morrison Bridge.

Lights three times brighter

Because of a generous in-kind donation of new, updated LED lighting fixtures by Griven USA and Northern Illumination Company, LLC, the Morrison Bridge lights have been replaced.

The new lights are brighter and three times more efficient than the previous lights, initially installed in 2009.

Modest fees from public lighting partners and applicants ensure that this program operates without the use of taxpayer funds.

Since 2009, organizations as diverse as World AIDS Day, Down Syndrome Awareness, Prevent Child Abuse Oregon, Work Zone Safety, and various sporting events have taken advantage of this program.

A sense of identity for Portland

With the pandemic requiring social distancing and an ongoing restriction on events, program organizers hope that both private individuals and public institutions will take advantage of the returned program to share their messages with the city in a safe and fun way. 

“The Willamette River and its bridges have always created a sense of identity for Portland,” says Ed Slavin, Chair of the Willamette Light Brigade Board of Directors, and owner of Northern Illumination Company, LLC, a local lighting manufacturer’s representative.

“We seek to provide an opportunity for organizations and individuals to enhance our city’s night-time experience and put their own colors out for the world to see. Lighting the Morrison Bridge is a great way to participate in civic discourse.”

To book your personal color scheme on the Morrison Bridge, visit www.lightthebridges.org and review available dates.

Fees begin at $150 per day with discounts for multiple day orders on consecutive dates. Synchronized lighting displays will be available later this year.

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