By Tom Hallman Jr.
A bungee jumper leaped off the Vista Bridge on Wednesday morning as part of a planned advertising campaign for the Oregon Lottery. The stunt didn't sit well with some spectators, however.
Several people, none of whom would identify themselves, thought the jumps were in poor taste because two people committed suicide last month by jumping from the Southwest Portland bridge onto the pavement below.
Jack Peterson of Cole & Weber, a Portland advertising agency handling the lottery account, said he wasn't even sure if the stunt would be used in the commercial. And if it was used, he said, viewers would not be able to identify the span, known colloquially as "Suicide Bridge."
Casey A. Dale made several safe jumps using bungee cords, which act like a huge rubber band. One end was attached to a harness, which Dale wore around his chest. The other end was hooked to the bridge and a truck. When Dale jumped, the cord broke his fall.
Dale wore a camera around his waist and crews filmed his jumps, each of which lasted about four seconds and were greeted with "oohs and aahs" from spectators who watched from the 100-foot-high bridge and from below on Southwest Jefferson Street.
The first jump came about 11:14 a.m. Police blocked traffic on Jefferson Street, and Dale climbed over the side of the bridge and stood on a small platform about 100 feet above the street. After gathering his nerves, he pushed away and did a graceful swan dive.
The bungee cord stopped his fall a little more than halfway down. Dale then dangled in midair until he was hauled to the top to do it again.