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Councils agree on name for Tualatin River bridge

Ki-a-kuts was a spokesman for the Tualatin (Atfalati) Indians
by: Jonathan House, A BRIDGE OVER UNTROUBLED WATERS — The cities of Tigard, Tualatin and Durham have agreed that the new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Tualatin River should be named after Ki-a-kuts, a Native American who was seen as a bridge builder between his tribal people and the United States government.

The new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Tualatin River is literally connecting three cities. So it seemed only fitting, say local historical society members, that the structure be named after a man who was known for 'building bridges' between political and social groups.

'Ki-a-kuts' won't be an easy name to pronounce, but the historical societies of Tigard and Tualatin hope that the name will help to keep alive the memory of the spokesman for the Tualatin (Atfalati) Indians.

'It's a fitting way to remind us of our heritage,' said Larry McClure, member of the Tualatin Historical Society.

In a short summary of Ki-a-kuts' contributions to his tribe in the mid-19th century, McClure noted that Ki-a-kuts was a man who tried to build bridges between old and new and between newcomers and native residents. As a spokesman for his tribe, Ki-a-kuts was involved with the drafting of several treaties between his people and the United States government 150 years ago.

'He tried to be a little bridge builder,' McClure said of Ki-a-kuts.

At an April 9 meeting, the Tualatin City Council suggested that the plaque that will be hung to designate the bridge's name should also include a brief history of Ki-a-kuts.

The Tigard City Council approved naming the bridge Ki-a-kuts back in February. The Tualatin council followed suit after a brief discussion of the name April 9. The Durham City Council was expected to approve the proposed name as well.