Viewers in the Portland area were treated to an inside look at the Salmonberry Trail project by KPTV Channel 12. The story, which aired on July 18, 2017, describes the great potential and the planning associated with Oregon's most ambitious rail-trail project. It also provides an important reminder the trail doesn't exist yet and is not safe or open to public access. Here's a link to the story.
Storm waters barreling down this tributary of the Salmonberry River took out the trestle leaving the track and parts of the bridge structure dangling in mid-air. This view is upstream from Belding.
The 2007 storm damaged bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure along the line. This view is upstream from Belding and shows just how dangerous the area is with shifting wood and rock.
Construction of the Pacific Railway and Navigation Line took six years (1905-1911) and included 13 tunnels and 60 bridges, 35 of which were more than 100 feet long. The original wood trestle bridges were replaced with steel like this one in the mid 1920s. During the flood, high water washed around this steel bridge and its concrete abutments threatening to leave it disconnected from the main line.
FOREST GROVE, OR—Oregon’s proposed Salmonberry Trail—connecting the Portland metro area and the Oregon Coast with an 86-mile long multiple-use trail—took a major step forward this week when it received national attention and funding from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails. RTC awarded the Salmonberry Trail project $30,000 to fund an economic and health benefit study to gauge future contributions of the trail to surrounding communities.
These ties and rails used to cross a small bridge at Kinney Creek, but were left hanging in mid-air when the Big Flood of 2007 washed through the canyon. Fiber optic cables running parallel to the track, which can be seen to the left, were also disturbed by high waters. This area is unsafe.
Cochran Pond. This was a pond used to hold logs that fed the C.H. Wheeler Lumber Company mill that stood on this spot from 1909-1932. Cochran is located at the summit of the Oregon Coast Range (elevation 1,833 feet), where the railroad line crossed over the top of the Coast Range from the Nehalem River watershed to the Salmonberry River watershed. During the 19-teens and 1920s, there was a full-fledged logging town here with railroad depot, a school, two pool halls, bunk houses, a big cookhouse and family houses. Cochran was named for brothers Joseph and J. Henry Cochran, lumbermen from Ashland, Wisconsin who began buying up large tracts of forest in this area in 1901. Railroad construction crews started in Tillamook and in Hillsboro in 1905-6 and worked toward the middle. They met just west of here in 1911.
If you’ve been through Tillamook lately, you’ve surely noticed the construction project near the intersection of Highways 6 and 101. It’s a major effort to upgrade a complicated intersection that was never designed to carry the traffic loads it currently does. Read more about the project at its website.
Even though we’re still several years away from major trail construction, there’s plenty of work to do to get ready: trail segment planning, engineering assessments, hazardous material surveys, public involvement, marketing plans, economic and health benefit studies, permitting, and what feels like a million other things to think about and prepare for. We’ve been busy collectively raising capacity funds to assist with this work, and we need your help.
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