Redmond's Maple Avenue climbing bridge may return

Bill could lift legal cloud over popular feature

Redmond climbing spot may return

Apr. 06, 2017 - The climbing routes set below the Maple Avenue bridge in Redmond in 2015 operated for 10 months successfully, drawing wide acclaim for its unique setting. But after a lawsuit in Portland, the city learned that because of a court ruling, landowners were protected, but employees were not protected from being sued, and the city could be at risk for a major lawsuit.

Then, when the insurance bill jumped from $5,000 to $157,000 for the climbing arch, the mayor of Redmond knew it had to be shut down.

"Couldn't do it," said Redmond Mayor George Endicott. "We don't have that kind of money. So we had to shut it down, which was extremely unfortunate. We hated to do it."

Endicott noted Climbing Magazine had just rated it as one of the top eight climbing venues in the world, for that kind of activity.

"We had that kind of notoriety," he said. "And right after that article comes out, we have to shut it down -- a bummer!"

But Thursday morning, the brains behind the climbers’ arch, Ian Caldwell, testified to make his case at a hearing, before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Salem.

Caldwell told lawmakers he was in strong support of Senate Bill 327.

"The insurance company said, if we fix that law, then we'll re-insure your bridge again,” Caldwell said. “So all it takes is a stroke of the pen."

The results came out in favor of the climbing arch. The committee passed the bill with revised language to protect the employees of landowners, as well as the landowners themselves.

The bill will now move on to a vote by the full Senate and, if successful, on to the House.

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