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The man behind the Barnett footbridge

I was driving east on Barnett Road and noticed that the bridge west of Highland Drive has a sign naming it the "Al Densmore Bridge." Who is Al Densmore, and why is the bridge named after him?

— Aamir

The stylishly rusty pedestrian bridge that carries the Bear Creek Greenway over Barnett, which opened in September 2010, was named after Al Densmore in part because he helped it get there in the first place, Aamir.

Prior to that it was just called called Bob — "bridge over Barnett."

Densmore served in a lot of different roles throughout his public service career until his retirement from Medford City Council in 2013.

Densmore moved to Medford in 1968 as a teacher and received a master's degree from Southern Oregon University.

In 1970, Densmore ran for the Oregon House of Representatives as a Democrat and was elected at age 24. He served from 1971 to 1977, returning to local politics after losing the Democratic nomination for Oregon Secretary of State in 1976. He was then elected mayor, a position he filled until 1983.

Before being elected as a city councilor for the first time in 2006, he served as president of the Rogue Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, as well as chairman of the board for Southern Oregon Education Service District. During that time, he switched party affiliations and registered as a Republican. His last term as city councilor ran from 2010 until 2013.

He was actively involved in several infrastructure projects around Medford, including the bridge that is now named after him.

The $2 million pedestrian and bicycle bridge was designed to intentionally rust, using a patented metal called Cor-Ten, which takes on a reddish patina without corroding and weakening the bridge.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.