Sponsored by Lane Powell

Rail problems east, south have few answers, many obstacles

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
ATSfloods.jpg

STATEWIDE Rural rail lines in Oregon are the best hope some counties have to support industry, either what little forest products manufacturing that remains, or the potential for something greater in the future. But while rural Oregonians have convincing arguments for a need for rail, there are few answers as to how to make it happen.

On the eastern side of the state, there’s a local push to restore passenger service between Portland and Baker City in the hopes of drumming up tourism. Washington D.C.-based Amtrak is conducting a viability study. The biggest stumbling block, however, is out of Oregon and Amtrak’s reach: Increasing national freight traffic means the line’s owner, Union Pacific, has little capacity for passenger trains.

“There are so many variables,” says Amtrak spokesperson Vernae Graham when asked about the decision to restore service. “You have to see what makes good business sense.”

December 2007’s massive storm decimated the Port of Tillamook Bay railroad. Repairs are estimated between $30 million and $50 million. Port officials and members of the governor’s office and ODOT have failed to come up with even a fraction of that money, and are losing out on the possibility of receiving matching funds from FEMA. Should the line remain unrepaired, Oregon will lose its only rail link from the coast to the Portland Metro area.

Further south in Coos Bay, another saga looks more hopeful. Government officials spent the first week of the session frantically finding ways to come up with $16.6 million to buy the damaged line that runs between the coast and Eugene. In February, the state approved $12.6 million in bridge loans that will enable the Port of Coos Bay to purchase the rail line that was shut down by Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad.

With a viable rail line, the Port of Coos Bay is likely to become some kind of container shipping port. That puts Oregon in a competitive position with the rest of the Pacific Rim. And it turns rail from a rural issue to an international one.

“What do we as state want to do with [rail]?” asks State Rep. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay. “If we want to be a player, what kind of infrastructure do we need?”

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

More Articles

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

Finding a Balance

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 29, 2015
012915-passinvst-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Active vs. passive investing: what you need to know.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

5 companies react to lower fuel prices

The Latest
Thursday, January 15, 2015
thumb-shutterstock 233787049BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Consumers love the savings they get from low oil prices, but how has business been affected?


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS