Bridge naming goes public in fall

When ground breaks for the new Columbia River crossing in September, the city will be asking citizens to name the new walking bridge.

Trail residents should put on their thinking caps now because there will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this fall.

When ground breaks for the new Columbia River crossing in September, the city will be asking citizens to name that bridge.

“It was proposed that it go out to the citizens in a call for names,” explained Communications Coordinator Andrea Jolly to Trail council Monday afternoon.

“Mainly because citizens had such an integral part in approving the construction of the bridge.”

There are rules to the process besides coming up with a name, however. Hopeful applicants must include the origin of the name, meaning of the name, consider if the name will still mean something in 100 years and describe any historical, cultural or regional significance.

“Just to add to that, I did research for other bridge naming processes,” said Jolly. “There were a lot of larger U.S. bridges that published their process online in a call for names.”

She said in those instances, up to 10,000 names were submitted, which a selected committee would narrow down to the top-three or top-10 then put those choices back for a public vote.

“Those are options that can be decided later down the line,” she said, referring to her recommendation that a committee of community representatives be formed to make the final name decision. “But it is proposed that the public does contribute to the naming process.”

Council unanimously agreed with Jolly’s recommendation, with Trail Mayor Mike Martin seeking clarification on the timeline to form a group responsible for reviewing all submitted names.

“The reason is to wait and see what sort of responses we get then put that down so council is aware of what information has come in and based on those responses, what sort of committee will be required,” said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer. “Before we start prejudging the type of committee let’s see if we get one, two or one thousand responses.”

Once the call for names is officially released around the second week of September, the deadline for submissions will be six weeks.

At that time, Trail council will determine how many political seats and how many non-political seats will play a role in the ultimate decision.

“It’s proposed to have this all wrapped up before the substantial completion of construction at the end of May 2016,” said Jolly. “We would have it done well ahead so we can have the plaque and (name) recognition at the opening ceremony.”