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|Archives - September 2009|
|Thursday, August 20, 2009|
Freight trains clatter through Eastern Oregon all day, but ever since Amtrak discontinued the Pioneer line in 1997 because it was losing money as passengers dwindled, no passenger train has stopped in Pendleton, Ontario or Baker City. In fact, the Pendleton train station is now a museum. But that may change as Amtrak considers reinstating the Pioneer, a move that could give an economic boost to Eastern Oregon.
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 requires Amtrak to re-evaluate several former train lines throughout the country, including the Pioneer. Amtrak will present the results of this study to Congress this fall.
A major aspect of Amtrak’s decision to reinstate the Pioneer, which started in Seattle and ended in Chicago, is whether or not there’s a renewed interest in riding the train. Throughout the country, ridership is up; 2008 was the sixth consecutive year of growth nationwide, with ridership on the Cascades line between Eugene and Vancouver, B.C., up more than 12%.
“If there’s ridership, the communities can benefit,” says Vernae Graham, Amtrak spokesperson. “It can stimulate all sorts of economic growth in those communities.”
Baker City and the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners have written letters to their representatives encouraging the reinstatement of the Pioneer. In October 2008, Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Greg Walden and two Idaho congressmen sent a letter to Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant supporting the reinstatement of the Pioneer.
Jake Jacobs, Baker City economic development manager, and Tracy Bosen, Pendleton economic development director, agree that the Pioneer would increase tourism, particularly to historical downtown areas.
“It’s going to require a lot of change at the terminals,” says David Richey, Ontario planning and zoning administrator. “There should be other types of transportation, taxi cabs and bus services.”
For some, riding the train would be an activity in itself.
“There would be a lot of people who would take a train ride, including myself, just to take the train ride,” says Jacobs. “It’s a recreational thing as well.”
Reinstating the Pioneer is more than nostalgia for a time when train stations were busy centers of communities. It’s a way for green transportation options to be extended east of the Cascades to rural Oregonians.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
The technology at the center of Oregon’s road usage fee reform.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT
How conservation stimulates the local economy.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.
Friday, June 05, 2015
As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.
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