Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
October 3, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 3, 2012

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Page 4 - October 3, 2012 -- _ --- - _ -_- _ _ - --_ _- - _ ~ ' -_ :_ __-_ ~ - them thinks all we cling toare God and guns. The other ,calls us lazy moochers. l e ther of them knows us at all. From Our Files Looking back on more than 80 f/ears of coverage in east Linn County... October 4, 1962 The Oregon State Highway commission plans to reconstruct a section of Highway 20 in the vicin- ity of Foster. The proposed plans call for widening of the area of highway to four lanes. An access road is going to be built at the Green Peter Dam site. The road will be about 4,000 feet long and will cost roughly $300,000. It will take about 150 work days to complete. Ray Wright, of Lebanon was injured last Saturday while on a hunting trip in the Cascadia area. Wright suffered facial cuts and bruises and burns and a hand injury when his rifle exploded. He was attempting to dislodge a bullet that was jammed in his rifle by firing it. September 30, 1987 Although the Linn County jail project has fallen approximately two months behind schedule, com- missioners say they aren't worried abou! the completion getting too far out of hand. They hoped to have the jail open by August 1988. but now they say it will most likely be about Oc- tober. The basic plan of 108 beds, medical facilities and administra- tion area remains unchanged. Once it is opened, most of the cities within the county will shut down their jails. ! S CO Albany and Eastern Railroad officials apparently think it's ridic- ulous that neighbors are disputing a $720 bill the railroad has deliv- ered to them. A&E has been talking about the charge since last spring. Neigh- bors expressed concern about it then. They didn't get much in the way of explanations though and still haven't. Last month, when they re- ceived what the company said was its third notification letter, but what at least some neighbors say was the first they'd seen on the sub- ject, they still didn't really get an explanation. A TV news crew was reportedly threatened with legal action for standing in A&E's fight- of-way while doing a story on the issue. Most recently, the railroad re- leased a statement that essentially argues that it has the legal authority to impose a fee on its neighbors. What A&E has not explained is a justification for the author- ity for the majority of the fees it's L m charging, nor has it explained why it sets the majority of the charge, a permit fee, at $600. The purpose of the annual $120 maintenance fee is pretty clear and doesn't really require ex- planation. Charging such maintenance fees appears to be standard practice with some railroads. In fact, when The New Era did a web search, we found a form for a crossing for Burlington Northern, the previous owner of the line. MIaybe that's why the railroad thinks its neighbors are ridiculous for dislputing the fee. B~ut where does thatauthority come from in the first place? And what's the justification behind the permit fee? We aren't sure. So far, we haven't been able to find anyone who can tell us that, although the railroad business is a rather com- A locally owned newspaper founded Sept. 27, 1929 Scott and Miriam Swanson, Co-Publishers .sweethomenews.com Office: 1313 MainSt., Sweet Home, Oregon Mailing address: The New Era, Box 39, Sweet Home, OR, 97386 Phone: (541) 367-2135 @ Fax: (541) 367-2137 WHO WE ARE Scott Swanson, Editor/Co-Publisher scott@sweethomenews.com Sean C. Morgan, Staff Writer sean@sweethomenews.com Miriam Swanson, Advertising Manager, Co-Publisher miriam@sweethomenews.com Christy Keeney, Classified Ads classifieds@sweethomenews.com Firiel Severns, Advertising Sales firiel@sweethomenews.com The New Era (USPS 379-100)is published each Wednesday. Periodical postage paid at the Sweet Home, Ore., 97386 Post Office. Postmaster: Please send address c~anges to /he New Era, Box 39, Sweet Home, Oregon 97386 SUBSCRIPTIONS In Linn County: $32 Elsewhere: $40 Snowbird: $38 NEWS QUESTIONS/TIPS Call (541) 367.2135 or e-mail news@sweethomenews.com plex maze of regulations. It might be buried in there somewhere, but we haven't been able to find any- one who will tell us where. A&E spokesman lared G. Cornell, director of sales and mar- keting, told us the whole thing "has gotten out of hand" and is "pretty ridiculous." His only answer to any of this is that the railroad has the author- ity to collect these fees, therefore it will; but in the statement, he sug- gests that folks research it from "reliable sources." Apparently, he and the rail- road cannot be bothered to explain it - unless they don't believe that they are reliable sources. Or, pos- sibly, they just do not care what people think. We certainly understand that A&E is a for-profit company and that its reason for existence is to make money. But there is more than just cash on the line here. There's what is known as political capital. Even though A&E isn't a political institution, the principle applies here. Prior to the surfacing of this fees issue, A&E had been in the news frequently, including in this newspaper, regarding its efforts to improve the condition of its rail- road lines, including the one be- tween Sweet Home and Lebanon. The company is working to bring them up to standards that would al- low them to be used productively for Commerce. Company representatives have more than once stated that they see industrial growth potential in Sweet Home, which is why they are com- mitting the time, effort and money necessary to revamp the line. We agree. There is a work force here that smart, entreprenur- ial business people could employ in a very positive way for their own profit and for Sweet Home's good. All that represents a plus in the political capital ledger. Sweet Home wants the railroad to happen. People want local jobs that pay a liveable wage. None of us wants to be unemployed or see a neighbor in that state. We like A&E for build- ing that railroad. The fact is, though, much of the money being used to rebuild the local railroad line comes, at least indirectly, from us - the citi- zens. A&E is using lottery funds from a Connect Oregon III grant to finance a reported $2.6 million of the $4 million project. Without putting too fine a point on it, after the Oregon public ponies up to pay for the project, the railroad then bills people who have lived along and crossed the railroad line for decades - for free. That's where the negatives start appearing in the political capital ledger. Sweet Home and Lebanon are relatively small, and good will is an important part of life in such communities. It's pretty clear that A&E is losing good will over this WRITE A LETTER We encourage readersto express their opinions in letters to the editor on matters of public interest. Letters should be typed and may be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax or in person atThe New Era office. E-mailed letters may be sent to news@sweethomenews.com. Please include a telephone number in case we need to contact you. Also, we require that you include your name and city of residence or your letter will not be published. There is no length restriction, but letters may be edited for length and all letters will be edited for libelous content. We discourage letters that attack or complain about private citizens or businesses on a personal level. Also, letters containing cornments on topics deemed by the editorial staff to have been exhausted in previous letters will be edited accordingly. ....... - on many levels. A&E mi~ght have an answer, but so far it hasn't bothered to pro- vide it. Not all of us are experts on railroad right-of-ways and A&E, so far, has passed up the opportu- nity to help us learn even what they want us to know. Were A&E willing to actually talk to its neighbors and the public - or to the press - we might learn that these rails are its property, and neighbors who wish to cross it should help maintain the crossings. It may not be entirely unrea- sonable to share that cost. Until now, though, apparently no one's bothered. The rails and crossings have been in disuse and disrepair for years. Property own- ers have lived on the other side of those tracks from Highway 20 for decades, and apparently no one has really bothered them much, if at all, about their crossings. Some say they have Burling- ton Northern permits, but A&E hasn't indicated that it would ac- cept those. We'd like to ask that question, but company officials don't appear to be eager to talk about that. Unless something changes, this looks like it will be a drawn- out affair. The legal wrangling could be costly, dollar-wise. The fact that some people have pre- existing crossing permits and what that means or doesn't mean, the history and condition of the rail- road line prior to the largess A&E got from the Legislature to do the repairs - these are burning ques- tions that will have to be resolved, at least in the minds of the public. The real cost, though, will be that political capital. Happy people are good neigh- bors. Unhappy people often are not. A&E needs to weigh the costs of its policies in terms of how they are going to affect the people who live along its railroad lines and the people who finance them. Good neighbors discuss problems and work out solutions. Those who don't may not live hap- pily ever after.