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Portland bridge for sale, if you have somewhere to put it

By Courtney Sherwood

PORTLAND Ore. (Reuters) - If you have somewhere to put it, local officials in Portland, Oregon, are offering a decrepit 1,100-foot-long (335-meter-long)steel bridge at a knock-down price.

The Sellwood Bridge comes with a paved road, sidewalks and railings, but none of the support beams that currently hold it aloft above the Willamette River, according to a for-sale notice that will run in newspapers on Wednesday.

Mike Pullen, spokesman for Multnomah County, said potential buyers will be asked to prove that they have somewhere to keep the bridge, funds to move it, as well as a plan to relocate it without its lead paint contaminating the environment.

The county is willing to let the bridge go for less than it would otherwise earn recycling the 88-year-old mix of steel and concrete, if the buyer keeps it intact, Pullen added.

"We'd even consider a plan to buy half of it, especially if somebody was going to make it available for public use," he said.

County officials have not put any price on the bridge, and are instead soliciting bids from qualified buyers.

Construction crews moved the Sellwood Bridge 60 feet (18 meters) last year to make way for a replacement that is slated to be complete in early 2016. That move cost $1 million, and any buyer could likely expect a much heftier bill to move the bridge to a permanent home, Pullen said.

Multnomah County is required by the federal National Historic Preservation Act to attempt to sell the original Sellwood Bridge before demolishing it.

If no valid bids are received by Sept. 12, the county says it plans to scrap the bridge and recycle most of its materials.

An effort to sell another historic Multnomah County bridge fell apart in 2008 when the buyer, the Portland city government, determined it would be cheaper to build a new bridge than transport an older structure 10 miles (16 km) across town.

(Reporting by Courtney Sherwood; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)

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