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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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September 26, 2012     The New Era Paper
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September 26, 2012
 

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l Hometown Newspaper of Bobbie McCalister Serving the Sweet Home community since 1929 Wednesday, September 261 2012 Vol. 83, No. 39 75 Cents Photos by Scott Swanson Sporting Oregon National Guard helmets, VIPs break ground for Lebanon's new veterans home, depicted in an artist's conception below, on Thursday, Sept. 20. From left are Jim Willis, Construction Project Manager John Osborne, state Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, state Sen. Fred Girod, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific - Northwest Dean Paula Crone, Lebanon Mayor Ken Toomb, Samaritan Health CEO Larry Mull- ins, County Commissioners Roger Nyquist and John Lindsey, Oregon National Guard Col. Bill Edwards and County Commissioner Will Tucker. Veterans' home construction begins By Scott Swanson Of The New Era The construction of Leba- non's new veterans' home be- gan Thursday, Sept. 20, with a ground-breaking ceremony at- tended by a host of local movers and shakers, and veterans. On a grass field across High- way 20 from Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital and just down the street from College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific - Northwest, some 200 people turned out to kick off the project. They included state and lo- cal legislators and officials, some of whom spoke of the "amazing" process that led to Thursday's event, and were clearly exultant over the results. County Commission Chair- man Roger Nyquist thanked the people who recognized the opportunity, put together the 400-some-page proposal, and de- cided on and approved the site. See Veterans, page 5 City issues on table at SH forum By Scott Swanson Of The New Era Should Oregon extend option levies up to 10 years? Should the state constitution be revised to "reset" property val- ues at their market rates when land is sold? Could population forecasting by a third party, which would not be appealable, be used in land use decisions? Those were some of the ques- tions on the table Tuesday, Sept. 18, as state and local lawmakers gathered at a City Hall Week fo- rum hosted by the City of Sweet Home. The gathering, held at the Police Service Building meeting room, also included discussion of renewing the state's 9-1-1tax and support for various programs to re- develop brownfields and other en- vironmentally damaged areas, such as Sweet Home's. A panel of state Sen. Fred Gi- rod, Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, Steve Frank of Stayton, who is running against Girod in District 9, and Richard Harisay of Sublimity, who is running against Sprenger for the District 17 seat, weighed in on the issues. Mayor Craig Fentiman said the event wasn't intended to be a debate, but rather a chance for lo- cal city officials to list "legislative priorities" for representatives of See City, page 14 Railroad says fees are standard and it will work with neighbors By Scott Swanson Of The New Era The Albany and Eastern Rail- road Company released a statement last week on its website regarding railroad crossings to the effect that it is standard practice to charge fees to neighbors using private railroad crossings as a way to cover the cost of maintaining such crossings. Property owners along the Alba- ny & Eastern Railroad line between Lebanon and Sweet Home are upset over a letter many received earlier this month from the company, threat- ening to close the crossings from Highway 20 to their homes unless they pay fees to use the crossings. The letter, from Jared G. Cor- nell, director of sales and marketing for Albany & Eastern, informs own- ers that they need to have $1 million in insurance coverage and pay $720, which includes an annual "mainte- nance fee" of $120, to maintain their railroad crossings. In its statement, released last week, the Albany and Eastern Rail- road Company described its rail sys- tem. The AERC owns and operates the 17-mile freight railroad line be- tween Lebanon and Sweet Home Oregon. The railroad "right-of-way" - the real estate beneath and adjacent to the track and structure upon which the railroad operates - was owned by the Fort Worth, Texas-based Burl- ington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) until recently, when it was acquired by the AERC, which oper- ated the line for some time prior to the property acquisition under a lease See Railroad, page. 5 Short Bridge closure likely By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era The Linn County Board of Commissioners were scheduled to open bids Tuesday for the repair and rehabilitation of Short Bridge in Cascadia. The work will be completed through the use of federal grant funds, said Linn County Road- master Darrin Lane. Short Bridge to be repaire& month-long is just one of several bridges the county will repair and rehab. The project includes roof and minor structural repairs, Lane said. It also includes the removal of asphalt and installation of a wooden deck. The wooden deck is some- thing the county has already done See Bridge, page 8 Natural resource Sweet Home High School student Elric Benson, right, de-limbs a Douglas fir tree felled by Tim Miller of All Aspects Tree Service at Hillside Fellowship church on Strawberry Loop Wednesday, Sept. 19. Watching are Sweet Home High School Natural Resources class teacher Dustin Nichol, center, and members of the class. The class took down 14 trees that were in poor shape or causing problems and salvaged them for high school shop projects, and fire- wood for the church parsonage Photo by Scott Swanson