Portland Troll Bridge – Portland, Oregon - Atlas Obscura
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Portland, Oregon

Portland Troll Bridge

Not-so-fearsome tiny trolls live under this wooden train trestle in Portland.  

Quite why trolls began to appear under a bridge in Portland is an open question. Perhaps it was a forced migration, or a simple search for a better life? Or maybe the local human population is just trying its hardest to keep Portland weird…

Trolls were once fearsome creatures. Solitary and hostile to men, they frequented the darkest depths of castles and caves, stealing human maidens and feasting on stray children. But then, in the 1960s, something went terribly wrong. The gnarled troll-folk of Norse and Scandinavian folklore were shrunk and plasticized into colorful little creatures with big hair and loveable smiles. Not exactly what Henrik Ibsen had in mind when he wrote “To live is to war with trolls in heart and soul.”

And it’s these colorful little trolls that you’ll find under an old trestle railway bridge on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Drive along McNamee Road (known as “McGnarly Road” by local cyclists for its challenging hills) and you’ll pass beneath the bridge, surrounded by shady woodland. Here, along a series of weathered wooden planks, you’ll see the trolls.

Over the years, locals have been affixing troll dolls to the wood, alongside a few trolls painted directly onto the planks. The colony of colorful little trolls has an unstable population, as nefarious humans occasionally pilfer the poor things. Thankfully, kindhearted humans living in the area replace them with fresh trolls, keeping the collection alive.

Know Before You Go

To get to the troll bridge, head northwest out of Portland on NW St Helens Road. Take a left along McNamee Road and you’ll soon reach the bridge. Don’t forget to bring a troll to add to the colony.

Contributed by
Tony Dunnell Tony Dunnell
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