News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

Aurora bridge anti-suicide fence work resumes tonight

May 24th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

KOMO news reports that as of tonight, May 24:

State transportation crews will resume work on the suicide prevention fence. It measures more than 8 feet tall, and will cost some $4 million.

As we’ve reported in the past, the project, which was supposed to start April 19, has been delayed by construction equipment problems.

The KOMO article noted that, “More than 230 people have jumped to their deaths on the Aurora Bridge since it was first built – making it the second-highest suicide rate for any bridge in the country, according to some figures.”

For those who commute or use Aurora/99 regularly, expect some delays. More specifically from WSDOT: Crews will close two northbound lanes and the northbound sidewalk across the bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Thursday nights (May 24 and May 27).

If the noise gets too much for you, WSDOT is offering free earplugs, which are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays at the Fremont Neighborhood Service Center located at 908 N. 34th Street. Or, call (206.440.4099) or e-mail phippsg@wsdot.wa.gov with the subject “SR 99 Aurora Bridge Fence earplug request” and WSDOT will send free earplugs to your mailbox. Please include your name, address and the number of earplug sets you need.

Track the project here.

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Take Back The Bridge fundraiser for Crisis Clinic

October 22nd, 2009 by Heidi

An event starting at the Aurora Bridge tomorrow is hoping to bring awareness to suicide prevention and to raise money for the Crisis Clinic of King County.  Take Back The Bridge is a project started by Seattle Firefighter, and Vine Christian Ministries Pastor, Heath Rainwater after he responded to the bottom of the bridge for a suicide attempt last spring.  Sadly, the result was tragic.  ”As a firefighter, I’ve seen many, many, many suicides.  What made this different is I saw this man fall in front of me.”  Helpless to prevent that tragedy, he hopes Take Back The Bridge will inspire people to ”build a better sense of community and bring more personal involvement into people’s lives.”

The 2-day event follows reports of at least three jumping incidents within a single week recently. According to statistics from Seattle FRIENDS (FRemont Individuals & Employees Nonprofit to Decrease Suicides), a person attempts suicide from the Aurora Bridge an average of once every three months, and the bridge is the nation’s second deadliest bridge for suicides. 

Starting in the next few weeks, preliminary construction will begin on a bridge barrier that will hopefully help deter people from jumping.  However, actual installation of the fence likely won’t begin until next spring.  In 2006, six emergency phone lines were installed along the bridge that enable people to call 9-1-1 or the Crisis Clinic’s 24-hour crisis line.  In an article written by the Crisis Clinic regarding the phones and bridge, they note ”that effort has been insufficient in reducing the number of suicides.”  They also add:

Suicide is a serious public health issue. In 2007, King County had 223 suicides; 11% of all deaths investigated by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The phones on the bridge are a lifeline for SOME, although the phones alone have not significantly changed the rates of suicide attempts from the bridge.  And, while a physical barrier on the bridge may be effective, we also need to continue to invest in health care and mental health for everyone so that there are no barriers to getting help for anyone who needs it.

For anyone who wants to get help for themselves or someone they know, the number for the 24-hour crisis line is 206-461-3222 or 866-4CRISIS.  You can also visit www.crisisclinic.org for more information.

This is the schedule for Take Back The Bridge:

  • Friday, October 23:  A 24-hour prayer vigil begins on the bridge at 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 24:  Pancake breakfast at Vine Christian Ministries (4000 Whitman Ave N) from 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.  Give what you can.  All proceeds will go to the Crisis Clinic.
  • Saturday, October 24:  Group walk over the Aurora Bridge at 10:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 24:  Neighborhood BBQ at Vine Christian Ministries at 3p.m.  Give what you can.  Proceeds benefit the Crisis Clinic.

If you want more information on any of the events, or to volunteer or donate money, visit Take Back The Bridge’s website

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