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

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1 a, "r,, - September 26, 2012 COMMuNITv (PINION Page 5 I! Veterans From page 1 He and others thanked "the citizens of Linn County, who, in the worst economic time since the Depression, ponied up $10 mil- lion, voting 2-1 to approve this," as Nyquist put it. "We proved we could raise money," said fellow Comissioner John Lindsay, noting that "roughly 56,000" people voted in favor of the facility. "Nobody else in the state could raise that kind of mon- ey. If not for the citizens of Linn County, there's no way any of these events could take place." The new 154-bed facility will be built on 12 acres adjacent to the Samaritan Health Sciences Cam- pus in Lebanon. The project's contractor, Lease Crutcher Lewis of Portland, will begin site work by October, which will include the site utilities, temporary roads, parking areas and establishing the building pads. Funded by federal grants and local matching funds, the facility, to be named Edward C. Allworth Veterans' Home, is expected to open in late-2014. Allworth, a captain in the U.S. Army, was a World War I Medal of Honor recipient whose personal heroism just days before the sign- ing of the Armistice in November 1918, led his company across the Meuse River and canal under fire and forced the enemy back, over- coming machine gun nests and capturing 100 prisoners - more than the number of his company. He later taught at Oregon Agricul- tural College (now Oregon State University), where he was known to students as "The Major," serv- ing as manager of the Memorial Union for 38 years. Jim Willis, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs said serving the ever- increasing needs of our veterans, especially our older vets, is a pri- ority we take seriously. "That is why the new vet- erans' home in Lebanon is being constructed. Naming the new home after of one of Oregon's bravest soldiers from World War I is fitting,' he said. "We want al- ways to honor the brave and cou- rageous service of all veterans by providing them with superior care in the season of life when they most need it. The Edward C. All- worth Veterans' Home will be a testament of Oregon's regard for its veterans." State Sen. Fred Girod, R- Stayton, who noted that his uncle was a physician in Lebanon "for- ever and ever," also credited those who made the veterans' home hap- pen. Though he said he was "an- gry" over the decision to reduce the size of the Lebanon home and locate another in Roseburg, he said he was gratified "to see this go forward and the Legisla- ture didn't foul it up. I feel really blessed." Girod credited state Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, chair of the Veterans Committee, for "straightening this thing out in the Legislature." The new home is expected to employ about 200 people, includ- ing administrators, medical staff, custodians and bus drivers. Sweet Home Economic De- velopment Director Brian Hoff- man, who was in the audience at the ground-breaking, said the new home will be a plus for Sweet Home. "Obviously, this is a benefit for our veterans - accessibility for families and veterans in Sweet Home," he said. "But I definite- ly believe, from an employment perspective, it will have the same kind of impact that Western Medi- cal University has, where Sweet Home residents will work in that facility. "When these jobs are created regionally, it gives our residents options for employment, which brings income into our commu- nity. But just as importantly, if we move towards being the highly de- sirable living community we can be, improving our quality of life, we need to realize that when these things are happening in the region, it's beneficial for Sweet Home. "It's not just talk, It's actually happening." Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R- Scio, told the crowd that building the facility will be only the begin- ning of the community's commit- ment to veterans. "Next year, when we're past the groundbreaking and we open the doors, does that mean we've done our part? No. That's when we take our family and we come visit. The Sprenger family is go- ing to step up to the plate. I don't know what we're going to do. I might be cleaning toilets." Willis said that personal at- tention will be key for the elderly veterans, some of whom, he said, will be far from family. "I can't tell you how much visiting the home means to veter- ans," he said. "But," he added, "do not play Texas Hold 'Em with veter- ans who have been playing for 65 years. You may be just playing for cookies but you won't have any cookies." Photo by Scott Swanson Rep. Sherrie Sprenger speaks to the crowd of some 200 people, many of them veterans and their families, who turned out forthe groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of the veterans home, shown below. Small House Concept II Railroad From page 1 agreement with the BNSE "The issue of private railroad crossings is one of great concern to railroad operators and regulators- industry-wide," Comell said in the statement. "This is because of the sig- nificant risk exposure each crossing poses by creating a point where the railroad intersects with the public. Trends in transportation planning practices discourage at-grade cross- ings, seeking instead grade separa- tion in an effort to avoid this expo- sure to protect both public safety and the railroad's business interests. "Railroad operators are required by their regulators at a state and fed- eral level to document and report and maintain all crossings along their rights-of-way, including the sig- nals, approaches, and surfaces of the crossings." According to the statement, industry practices for railroads to accomplish this, comply with regu- lations and recover a portion of the high cost involved in these activities may include: Requiring property owners to carry specific liability limits on their insurance policies as well as name the railroad as an additional interest on their policies, and to indemnify the railroad in the event of a loss; Obtain a crossing permit from the railroad operator; Payment of maintenance fees. While the AERC cannot speak to the practices of prior owners of the railroad right-of-way or other railroad operators in the region, it has adopted policies to address the issues related to railroad crossings along its right-of-way that it believes adequately address these concerns, the statement said. "Additionally, the AERC has of- fered to make financial arrangements with property owners such that costs related to obtaining crossing permits and payment of maintenance fees can be paid over time," Cornell said in the statement. "We encourage inter- ested and affected parties to research this issue through reliable sources of information, such as railroad regula- tory agencies at the state and federal level, in order to understand this mat- ter in its proper context. "The AERC is committed to the revitalization and safe operation of the 77-mile railroad upon which we operate and providing excellent transportation service to the indus- tries in our communities. Our goal is to contribute to the economic com- petitiveness of Linn County busi- nesses and industry, to boost the traded sector, and to grow manufac- turing and traded sector, family-wage employment." The New Era contacted Cornell to find out more about the charges, how they were set. "We're not going to talk any more about it," Cornell replied. "That serves as our statement right there. It's just gotten out of hand -- pretty ridiculous." The Oregon Department of Transportation's Rail Division and the Federal Railroad Administration are state and federal agencies that primarily govern railroad issues and operations. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/ODOT/RAIL/Pag- es/index.aspx and www.fra.dot.gov.