|Original article from Democrat-Herald - Albany, Oregon July 21, 2006
Grant to relocate Lebanon railyard
By Alex Paul
LEBANON— A $1.9 million grant from the Oregon Transportation Commission and $500,000 from the city of Lebanon
will be used to relocate the Albany & Eastern Railroad Company’s reloading site and train yard in Lebanon.
The new site will be 2 to 3 acres in the northwest part of town. The project, for which funds will become available in
September, could reduce train traffic over street crossings in some parts of town by more than 50 percent, according to
Jim Ruef, Lebanon public works director. It is scheduled to be done in 2008.
The state’s portion of the funding is part of some $99.5 million worth of projects to improve connections between
highways and other transportation venues including railroads, airports, public transit and ports. Money for 43 approved
projects will come from lottery bonds that were allocated during the 2005 legislative session. Of the total, about $40
million will be used for railroad improvement projects.
Ruef said funds will provide a two-fold benefit to the railroad, which is owned by Mike Root.
The railroad’s current reloading process is done on two sites. One is the former Willamette Industries/Weyerhaeuser mill
on Milton Street and the other is on Third Street near downtown. The reloading area is where truck loads of products
such as lumber are sorted and combined into railroad car loads.
“As you can imagine, there is a lot of noise and dust, which is undesirable in the downtown setting,” Ruef said. “This site
is used primarily during peak times. It’s on again and off again.”
The railroad also has a train yard at the former Champion mill site near Russell Drive. Engines and rail cars are added
or removed at this site. The project calls for relocating the train yard to the northwest part of town on the main track.
“This will put the railroad’s reloading site and train yard in the same area,” Ruef said.
Ruef said the project carries a “great deal of added value” such as fewer trains blocking streets, more capacity for
reloading, and greater industrial development potential.