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Notes of Hope For Infamous Bridge of Suicides

Foresthill Bridge papered with positive messages to suicidal visitors
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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UPDATE: 4:35 P.M. TUESDAY JULY 31: NOTES GIVE HOPE TO BRIDGE VISITORS CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE

Hundreds of colorful, heartfelt notes of hope are now attached to the Foresthill Bridge near Auburn in a mission of compassion to prevent people from jumping to their deaths.

They started appearing Friday and more were put up Sunday, inspired by the story of 18-year-old Paige Hunter - a college student in England who placed 40 notes on Sunderland’s Wearmouth Bridge and was credited by that city’s police with saving six lives.

At the Foresthill Bridge, the laminated notes are attached to railings with zip ties near the center of the two walkways on each side of the 730-foot-high span. They’re intended by the people placing them to give hope and derail suicidal visitors from a fatal leap.

Since 1973, 87 people have plummeted to their death off the span - the highest bridge in California and fourth highest in the nation.

A total of 240 personalized notes with messages like “No matter what, there is always a reason to smile,” “You are loved” and “Hold On Pain Ends” were placed Sunday by a group of Auburn-area residents led by Brittney Hendricks of Old Town Auburn’s Crimson Tattoo Co.

On Friday, Foresthill’s John Buck put up about 20 notes on the bridge. He said he was elated to see more go up this week.

“You can’t put into words how good this makes me feel,” Buck said.

Hendricks, like Buck, said she was inspired to act by the Wearmouth Bridge signs and their potential to save lives.  

The notes cover the area near the center of the bridge but Hendricks said she’s hoping that others will join in with more messages to cover the entire length of the deck above the north fork of the American River on the outskirts of Auburn.

Hendricks said she plans to organize another group this coming weekend to add more notes. Her goal is to have signs spanning the entire bridge deck walkway’s railings.

To help make that happen, Crimson Tattoo is inviting people to walk in and use its supplies, laminating machine, paper and pens to come up with their own notes. The shop at 301 Commercial St. is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. People outside of the area can mail notes to the business at: Crimson Tattoo Co., 301 Commercial St. Auburn CA 95603. Notes can also be dropped off there.

Hendricks said her shop does many memorial tattoos, and some involve tributes to suicide victims.

“It hits home every time you do one,” she said.

Hendricks added that she was also inspired by the story of hope reported by the Auburn Journal this past month on two different suicidal persons being talked down from jumping off the bridge on two consecutive days.

“These lost souls need to know that we care - that they are not alone and there is hope,” Hendricks said. “Eighty-seven lives lost is far too many and we need to intervene now.”

 

 

 

ORIGINAL REPORT: NOTES OF HOPE FOR INFAMOUS BRIDGE OF SUICIDES

Hundreds of notes of hope are now attached to the Foresthill Bridge near Auburn in an attempt to prevent suicides.

The notes were tied to railings near the center of the two walkways on each side of the 730-foot-high span, intended by the people placing them to give hope and prevent suicidal visitors from jumping.

Since 1973, 87 people have plummeted to their death off the span - the highest bridge in California and fourth highest in the nation.

A total of 240 personalized notes with messages like “No matter what, there is always a reason to smile,” “You are loved” and “Hold On Pain Ends” were placed Sunday.

The notes are in an area at the center of the bridge and organizers are now hoping that others will join them with more messages to cover the entire length of the deck above the north fork of the American River.