The Chelan River – Dan Gordon Bridge and Riverwalk Park
With locations viewed about 75 years apart. Oh what a difference.
The original black and white was taken in about 1950, and the color update was taken earlier this Spring of 2018. The differences are unreal. The Dan Gordon Bridge was dedicated in 1978, and Riverwalk Park was dedicated in 1986.
Like most change in the valley, neither the “new Dan Gordon Bridge” or the Riverwalk Park came easy, as public resistance to change was present with both projects. Hindsight would say that the visionaries who saw the need and the options to be successful should be thanked, as the community is clearly better for both. At the top of the list we would place the Chelan County PUD and Commissioners Bob Kaiser and Jim Wall, both from the valley, and both worked hard to negotiate a method to make the Park a reality.
The “Dan Gordon Bridge” also met with strong resistance over the years, but it would be hard to imagine the traffic load through Chelan all crossing on the “old bridge” near Campbell’s Resort. The good news is he City of Chelan and the Historic Downtown Association are working on a re-do of the ‘Old Bridge” and surrounding public property that will make the bridge safer, and the public land on the east end more park-like. That project should be completed this summer. The bridge was named after long time Chelan Motel owner Dan Gordon. He was one of the most active members of the Highway 97 Association, a group across the state who worked to preserve the best scenic route possible for Highway 97 as it weaved it’s way through Eastern Washington. Dan was several times President of the Association, and othe Better Roads organizations that played an important part of determining today’s Washington State Highwat System.
The video below was produced in 2016, and is a combination of still photos from the Riverwalk Park Dedication and a fly-over of Riverwalk Park on a gorgeous September afternoon. Riverwalk Park today, is one of the public gems of the valley.