Columbia River Maritime Museum

Science on Tap

First Thursdays, 7:00 p.m.
Fort George Lovell Building

Science on Tap, in partnership with Fort George Brewery, is a Columbia River Maritime Museum program introducing maritime science, history, and technology in an informal setting. This program is free and open to the public; minors are allowed with adult. Doors open at 6:00 pm, the presentation begins at 7:00 pm at Fort George Brewery - Lovell Building. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Seating is limited.

May 1, 2014: The Bridge of the Gods—Folklore, Forests and Floods
Presented by Jim O'Connor

In the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, the 1800-foot-long steel truss bridge spanning the Columbia River at Cascade Locks is known as the Bridge of the Gods. But this modern name derives from a much larger Bridge of the Gods that covered the Columbia River in about 1450 AD. This earlier “bridge” was a blockage, the result of a huge landslide. The landslide almost certainly gave rise to the Native American legend of the Bridge of the Gods. Oral histories of the region indicate that the Native Americans “could cross the river without getting their feet wet.” The river dammed up and created the set of foaming rapids, first mapped by Lewis and Clark as “The Great Shoot.”

Join the Columbia River Maritime Museum for our next Science on Tap: The Bridge of the Gods - Folklore, Forests and Floods on Thursday, May 1, 2014. Jim O'Connor will share his knowledge of the Bonneville Landslide, including oral histories of the region and how the landslide and resulting rapids had immediate and persistent consequences on human use of the river.

Jim O'Connor is a Pacific Northwest native long interested in the processes and events that shape the remarkable and diverse landscapes of the region. Following this interest with a geological science major at the University of Washington and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Arizona, he has spent the last 23 years focused on the "science of scenery" (as ascribed to the field of geomorphology), and the last 17 years with the U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Center in Portland, Oregon.