A while back I did a few shots from the top of the Suicide Aurora Bridge – officially the George Washington Memorial Bridge. At the time the suicide fence was going up and I haven’t heard much since. I just looked into it and according to WSDOT, there has been one suicide since – that’s one in a little more than a year – a fraction of the rate before. The view from the top used to be great – it’s still nice. One thing that always got me was that the view from the bottom of the bridge is pretty great too, in an engineery kind of way. They never show these things off.
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As usual shooting something against the sky and not wanting to lose the detail, I did this one as HDR. I love the sweeping curves of the thing. I don’t even think this picture does justice to just how high the arc of steel sweeps from Fremont over to Queen Anne. The bridge is its own reward.
Aurora Avenue seems like it probably has a storied past. These days, the story is urban highway and blighted business districts. At one time, it seems like everyone decided it would be a great place to build glorious old-timey motels. Back before the Motel 6s and Holiday Inns, everyone had cool names and even better signs. At present, most of those places are out of business, but some remain, and better yet, they haven’t torn down the relics quite yet. I don’t think they’ll last long, so this will be the first in a series of what is left. All of these are on Aurora Ave N (State Route 99) north of downtown Seattle. First up, the Thunderbird Motel.
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Most recently, this place was actually called the Fremont Inn, but I’ll defer to the huge neon thunderbird. This was actually one of the first of the motels to be forcibly shut down under the nuisance laws. I can’t say I’m sad that it isn’t up and running but I hope they turn it into something worthwhile instead of just another vacant lot or hole in the ground.
I think it’s safe to say, this place has seen better days.
The Stranger ran a great piece last year about suicide and the Aurora Bridge. Our humble bridge stands right behind the titanic Golden Gate as the second-most jumped from bridge in the world. The article also went on to discuss the psychology of suicide – how making it slightly more difficult to jump drastically decreased the odds of someone trying. Between that and the fact that Adobe is really tired of people landing in their parking lot below, the fence is now going up on what is officially known as the George Washington Memorial Bridge (how fitting, right?)
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Hit the jump for more pictures and words and such.
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