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 Post subject: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Scenic
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 2:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
http://oregoncoastscenic.org/ocsr-speci ... or-action/


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:56 pm 

Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 8:56 pm
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Location: New York
J3a-614 wrote:
http://oregoncoastscenic.org/ocsr-special-call-for-action/


This page certainly presents quite a bit of information that's not easily digestible to the casual visitor or to anyone not already familiar with any of the involved agencies.

After reading through this a few times, I'm still not entirely certain what is immediately at stake.


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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Frank -

Yeah, I was confused too. The wife and I rode the line a few years back (powered by the Heisler) and I recall a trail alongside. So is the "problem" their whole line, or just a portion of it? Also, February 2nd is here right now; why are we hearing about this so late?


Les


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:06 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
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Location: Bowie, MD
It needs some serious editing! After reading it several times, I got the impression they were told to the affect of "don't worry, this won't effect you," and only recently did a lawyer read through it and provide another view.


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:46 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:22 pm
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This rails-to-trails stupidity needs to be stopped. Removing in-use tracks for trails is the opposite of what the law was intended to do, it was supposed to be a shield to keep RoWs intact not a sword to sever them!

CD


Last edited by CREEPING DEATH on Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:08 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 429
I live about a mile from the old SP (now P&W) branch that connected to the Tillamook line, I may be wrong but I suspect this is part of a recurring issue with trying to maintain the OOS portion of the line in the Salmonberry River canyon to be potentially reopened. The state has opposed reopening the line because it would require a lot of earthwork, bridges etc. in the portion of the canyon that was washed out in the "Great Coastal Gale" of 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Coa ... le_of_2007), and the river is a salmon spawning ground. The OCSR argues that as a common carrier the STB has a final say on whether it will be rebuilt, and is trying to keep it from being permanently removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:16 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:46 am
Posts: 88
Location: Elko, NV
So, there are a few things in this thread that need some clearing up, especially Creeping Death's comment.

On May 26, 2016, the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad filed the proper applications with the STB to discontinue its common carrier service obligations over all but the easternmost mile or so of its rail line. POTB has turned operations of that mile over to the Portland & Western, who operates over it to provide service to the sawmill at Banks, Oregon.

On June 17, 2016, the Salmonberry Trail Intergovernmental Agency filed a notice of interim trail use, requesting that the STB find the right-of-way suitable for conversion to a trail. POTB filed a response indicating they were willing to negotiate with STIA for such trail use on July 1, 2016. The STB in a decision issued July 26, 2016, gave the two parties 180 days to negotiate for trail use, through January 22, 2017. This trail use negotiating period has been extended twice, the first time through July 21, 2017, and then the second time through January 17, 2018. The agreement laid out in the Call for Action is the one being negotiated between POTB and STIA under this order and extensions from the STB.

Bottom line, POTB (the property owner and former common carrier railroad) is in the process of abandoning the rail line over which OCSR operates as a lessee/tenant. STIA is using the abandonment regulations and proceedings to convert the to be abandoned rail line to a recreational trail under the "railbanking" provisions. In most such cases, the abandoning railroad carrier simply sells or otherwise conveys (usually through donation) the right-of-way to some organization who has agreed to assume financial responsibility for the grade- this is usually a non-profit organization, though in some cases it can be governmental agencies, such as Oregon State Parks ownership and management of the old Oregon California & Eastern out of Klamath Falls or U.S. Bureau of Land Management that holds and manages as a trail the Oregon Pacific & Eastern grade out of Cottage Grove. In this case, it appears from the wording in the agreement that STIA is negotiating to lease the grade from POTB and convert it to a trail instead of otherwise taking outright possession of the grade from POTB. This would on the surface allow POTB to continue other existing non-trail uses of the grade, which would be the category under which OCSR would fall. Indeed, STIA's website- there's a link to it in the OCSR call for action- describes on their front page two of the four trail segments as being "rail with trail", specifically the 26 miles from Tillamook to Wheeler and then the 17 miles from Wheeler to the confluence of the Nehalem and Salmonberry rivers. However, I can see that OCSR should be very legitimately concerned about the language they quote in the Call, which would seem to grant STIA the power to veto any other use agreements POTB has for all or parts of their trail. This could if interpreted and applied the way OCSR states mean a very quick end to their railroad, followed by conversion of the line to a trail only route, subject of course to reversion to a railroad should that be feasible in the future. OCSR states in the Call they are negotiating for a 60-year lease from POTB; I would assume this lease would start from whenever their current lease expires. What's left unsaid in all of this is how much time OCSR has on their current lease. This would seem to leave OCSR with very little recourse other than to shut down or move if STIA objects to the next OCSR lease.

Edited to include: most "rails with trails" that I've seen include some form of a hard barrier between the trail and rail. I wouldn't be so generous as to call any of what's next to the tracks over which OCSR presently operates as "trails", they are at best foot paths and more typically game trails. Usually recreational trails, especially those that are expected to be shared by more than one type of user, end up being fairly wide and smooth surfaced, either paved or crushed gravel. There are few to no places along the present OCSR line where it would be easy to construct a trail alongside the existing rail, especially one with any sort of a hard barrier in place, meaning that the railroad and the trail are in all likelihood going to have to share the same footprint in a lot of places. I can see that reason alone as why some parties within STIA would want OCSR gone.

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:28 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
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There are money issues involved also, I have seen estimates of around $50M to repair the washouts, and the Port has around $2M in debts associated with the line that it wants to pay off with the $4M it could get by scrapping it. However, prior to the washouts the line shipped around 250 cars of lumber a month, I have seen estimates that between 800-1000 trucks were required to move the same amount, and if the two lumber mills object it is something the STB will listen to I think. The STB cannot easily order an owner to fix up a line, but they can prevent them from tearing it out. I also wonder if there was any FEMA money allocated, I know lines hit by hurricanes are sometimes granted money that way.


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:26 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:46 am
Posts: 88
Location: Elko, NV
Quick answer, yes, POTB received FEMA disaster relief funding after the storms. Problem is FEMA money only covers around 80% of recovery costs, the rest requires local match, and nobody at that time in Oregon state or local governments had the money to fund that match due to the onset of the Great Recession. Lack of political will also played a role, the State especially spoke of the amount of their money that had been spent after previous storms tore the POTB apart and the lack of any assurances the railroad wouldn’t continue to be a money pit with future storms even if the resources had been there to fix the 2007 damage, which it wasn’t. So the Port took the money they got from FEMA and used it to fund improvements to their other properties, such as the business park at the old blimp base (the reason for the Port’s existence in the first place) and the airport. As for the two mills, they seem to be doing just fine a full decade after the last POTB freights ran, for that matter Hampton- the principle shipper- closed a sawmill in the valley not far inland from Tillamook that had direct rail service while it continues to run the now isolated from rail Tillamook mill. Neither of the mills have to my knowledge said anything in opposition to the abandonment petition. It’s also worth noting the 3,000 or so freight loads POTB handled annually were not really sufficient to maintain the long term viability of the railroad- the old rule of thumb is that a Shortline should be handling 100 carloads per mile of track per year to be self sufficient and maintain viability, which in POTB’s case would amount to something like 8,000-9,000 loads a year, and even that might have been light due to that line having a potentially higher than normal cost structure due to a litany of factors, including the grade profiles, rapid decay in the marine environment, constant susceptibility to floods and washouts and landslides and the like. At best the railroad actually handled somewhere between a third and a half of that amount.

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 429
Posted today on facebook(sorry the image size is too big to post here):

https://www.facebook.com/OregonCoastSce ... =3&theater

I happen to be with Creeping Death: it is fairly obvious that the purpose of almost all of these trails doesn't have anything to do with hiking, its purpose is to remove track, period. And a lot of the time the reason is that someone wants to sell property to build houses to rich people, and the sort of people who can afford to build these mansions are made sad by seeing the industrial economy and working people. IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3138
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
PMC wrote:
Posted today on facebook(sorry the image size is too big to post here):

https://www.facebook.com/OregonCoastSce ... =3&theater

I happen to be with Creeping Death: it is fairly obvious that the purpose of almost all of these trails doesn't have anything to do with hiking, its purpose is to remove track, period. And a lot of the time the reason is that someone wants to sell property to build houses to rich people, and the sort of people who can afford to build these mansions are made sad by seeing the industrial economy and working people. IMHO.


I agree as well.

I think we have several things at play. One, as noted, are land issues and development issues, and the people involved do not like trains in any way, shape, or form, and it seems to be especially directed at heritage roads--and I dare say, even at steam roads.

Another factor is that the trail groups do have taxpayer money available for grants on a fairly regular basis. Can't get the grant money if you don't have a rail trail, so the railroad has to go!!

A third factor is that the supply of abandoned railroads is running out, or more specifically, the supply of abandoned railroads in usable locations is running out. Sure, there are plenty of lines around that are or could become trails--but who wants to bike up miles and miles and MILES of 4% on the old Denver & Salt Lake to Corona? Or go through all that to get to Alpine on the former South Park line?

In contrast, rails around any city of any reasonable size are now valuable again.

When that rail trail movement started, nobody ever thought Amtrak would continue, everybody thought railroads were supposed to to the way of the clipper ship, the river boat, the stage coach, and the covered wagon.


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 Post subject: Re: Looks Like Yet ANOTHER Rail-Trail Fight--Oregon Coast Sc
PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:10 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
We're also talking about a place where it's not very friendly to hiking or biking during a great deal of the year, in places where you could dive into the Pacific directly from standing on the outside rail. It's also not a huge tourist area where a lot of the rail exists (thought it is in some places, though).
I think if memory serves, the original "Point Break" movie ended along this route as Keanu Reeves gets out of a car right along the tracks at Wheeler (standing in for a beach in Australia), where the Oregon Scenic sometimes takes on passengers.

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