Save Our Bridge

Be prepared for street closures as the Mill City Downtown Restoration and Revitalization Project commences.  Traffic plans are provided below.


Mill City’s Historic Railroad Bridge was built in 1888 and was eventually moved to Mill City by Southern Pacific Railroad in 1919 where it replaced the original bridge made of wooden timbers.  The current structure is the last remaining Phoenix Column bridge in Oregon. 

The bridge reflects the special connection that Mill City and the North Santiam Canyon have had with the railroad. In 1887, Santiam Lumbering Company was formed, and Mill City was established in anticipation of the railroad reaching the area in 1888.  The existence of Mill City was directly tied to the ability to move logs and lumber to the local mills and to the Willamette Valley.  The railroad was also the main transportation system for both people and freight  prior to the development of an all-weather road system.  The Santiam Lumbering Company was purchased by W.W Curtiss in 1899 and A.B. Hammond in 1900. As Hammond Lumber Company, it  expanded to  become one of  the  largest lumber mills west of the Rocky Mountains.

Southern Pacific Railroad suspended service to Mill City in 1967, and in 1971 the last train crossed the bridge.  A portion of the original line still services the Frank Lumber Company Inc. and Freres Lumber Company Inc. located on Lyons-Mill City Drive. 

Current Condition:

The structural integrity of Mill City’s Historic Railroad Bridge was evaluated in 2014 by the Ausland Group of Eugene.  Weathering and usage over time have led to the need for restoration.  This includes the repair of some underpinnings and the upgrading of decking, railings, and lighting.  The bridge also needs to be cleaned and painted.


Mill City’s Historic Railroad Bridge serves as a well-used bike and pedestrian trail, a meeting place for friends and a prime   location for river watching. It is a vital part of the Mill City water system between Marion and Linn Counties and has become a source of community pride as part of a city with beautiful scenery and historic bridges.

The successful restoration of Mill City’s Historic Railroad Bridge will enhance civic vitality in the North Santiam Canyon and lay the foundation for another 100 years of public use and enjoyment. The City of Mill City and the Save Our Bridge Committee have partnered to raise $1,200,000 for this important project.


In 2018 the City of Mill City was awarded an $8.2 Million federal TIGER Grant.  The scope of work for the grant includes full reconstruction of SW Broadway Street and pedestrian path, rehabilitation and shoring up of the vehicle bridge and complete rehabilitation/restoration of the Historic Railroad Bridge!  The grant does require full matching funds of $400,000 from the City of Mill City.  Because of this, we are still working to raise dollars to ensure that we can provide the match for this once in a lifetime opportunity.  YOU can continue to show your support for our wonderful bridge by pledging dollars toward the project.  Ways to donate are below.


Yes, I want to help restore Mill City’s Historic Railroad Bridge to ensure that it will continue to be an integral part of the North Santiam Canyon for the next 100 years.

Tax deductible donations can be mailed to:

              City of Mill City

              ATTN: Save Our Bridge

              PO Box 256

              Mill City, OR 97360

Other ways to support Save Our Bridge:

Buy a Tee Shirt and Button!

Tee available in sizes Small to XXL - $15.00 each

Button $1.00 each

Available at City Hall or add $5.00 shipping to have mailed via US Postal Service in the continental United States.

Contact Us:

For more information, please call:                   (503) 897-2302