In Memoriam

Morrison Bridge to Be Lit Purple for Prince’s Birthday

The legendary singer would have turned 63 on June 7.

By Margaret Seiler June 4, 2021

Prince's face floats above a nighttime view of the Morrison Bridge lit in purple and green

It’s been five years and 44 days since Prince took his love away—or, rather, since one of the greatest performers and songwriters in history, Prince Rogers Nelson, died from an accidental overdose of pain medication at the age of 57.

On Monday, June 7, what would have been the Minneapolis native’s 63rd birthday, Portland’s Morrison Bridge will be lit in his signature color. The custom light scheme is part of a partnership between Multnomah County, which manages the bridge, and the Willamette Light Brigade, the nonprofit that puts on the joy-bringing Portland Winter Light Festival. The bridge was also lit purple when Prince died in April 2016. Since then, the lights on the bridge's piers have been replaced with new LEDs that are even brighter and more efficient.

Groups and individuals can apply to sponsor the bridge’s lighting scheme for a day, a week, or more. Lighting plans already on the books for this summer range from sweet (celebrating a 60th wedding anniversary) to sadistic (um, Seattle fans have booked the bridge for the weekend of the Timbers-Sounders August 15 game at Providence Park).

There’s not much precipitation in the forecast, but purple rain is always a possibility, and pretty much any bridge or overpass in Portland qualifies as a graffiti bridge. There won’t be a cherry moon—Prince’s birthday falls between a pink moon in April and a strawberry moon near the end of June.

A strolling/dancing evening loop over the Hawthorne and Burnside Bridges, just south and north of the Morrison, is highly recommended—with a personal soundtrack that includes "Purple Rain," “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” “Gett Off,” “Thieves in the Temple,” “When Doves Cry,” “Raspberry Beret,” and other selections from the Purple One’s seemingly endless discography.

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