Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
October 17, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 17, 2012

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Page. 18 - October 17, 2012 ail neighbors told to seek strength in numbers By Scott Swanson Of The New Era Neighbors of the Albany & Eastern Railroad line between Lebanon and Sweet Home are being advised that they need to work together in dealing with the railroad over its demands that they pay $720 in maintenance and permit transfer fees. A group of some 25 of those neighbors gathered Tuesday evening, Oct. 9, at the Sweet Home Police Department meeting room to discuss their optio as. Mike Martel, a resident of Country Lane, which crosses the railroad line perpendicular to Highway 20 across from Harmony Road, led the discussion. He said the purpose of the meeting was to form a coalition to deal with the railroad's demands and gather facts. "We need information from everybody," he said. "Without the networking of the folks here, we're pretty weak as individuals. But we have power as a group." Neighbors discussed the implications of the railroad's contentions that it controls a 50-foot right-of-way extending from the line. One, Chet Elder who said his family has lived at 28501 Highway 20, across from Liberty Road, since he was 5, said a railroad representative has told him that a grove of fir trees, planted by his mother when the family moved there, will be cut down because it is in the fight-of-way. "My house will be exposed to the highway," Elder said. "The tree huggers who shut down our timber industry should get involved," suggested another attendee. "Think about all the trees they would take out in a 50-foot fight-of-way." "I think I'd rather suffer," Martel noted, wryly. Contacted later, railroad spokesman Jared Comell said the trees pose a danger because they brush locomotives as they pass. "God forbid that one of our stacks catches a branch on fire and then the house goes up," he said. "It's a huge fire and public safety issue." Richard Knowles, a Sun Lane resident, said the railroad's demand that neighbors carry $1 million insurance policies covering the il Secluded, quiet, treed property ready for you and your animals. Almost 6 acres bordering private timber land. Abun- dant wildlife and recreation opportunities. Nice, 1440sf stick-built home w/ attached garage. Updated country kitchen, refinished beautiful maple floors in LR/DR. Two-stall barn, plus a nice goat or sheep barn and storage sheds. $239,000 mls#655852 Herimg~ ~W (541)401-9559 or Creek REALTY Kitsey Trewin (541) 409-4962 I Angela Weld (541) 401-5612 Debbie Adams {541) 409-9132 Todd Branson (541) 409-1800 J Linda Renoud (541) 401-5770 FOR SALE Great country lot located next to a new subdivision. City water and city sewer services available at the street. Owner will consider all reasonable offers and will carry a contract. 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Rent $825 + Dep. 1441 Westwood AVAILABLE NOW: 3/1 Home close to town. Rent $650 + Dep. 1893 Kalmia AVAILABLE SOON: 3/I Home in good neighborhood. Rent $675 + Dep. 617 Juniper j: : rl 541367.6364 J www.amescreekre lt3 Mike Martel, right, and other neighbors of the Albany & Eastern Railroad the rail line. crossings is another problem. He said he was "arguing" with Burlington Northern, former owner of the line, about that issue 12 years ago, and that Burlington Northern agreed to accept the "maximum coverage allowed" by Knowles' insurance carrier at that time. Doug Gadsby, who has lived on Sun Lane since 1996, said the railroad wanted to charge him $3,500. 'Tve had a permit before," he said. "I've had the insurance they asked for. Burlington Northern was charging $100 for a five-year period. There's nothing to maintain. The only thing the railroad does is defoliate. I've got pot holes in my driveway up to the track and I had to fill them with gravel." Martel said Country Lane neighbors have had problems with their road flooding at the railroad crossing and thfit, despite promises, Albany & Eastern has done nothing. Cornell said later that the railroad believes the problems stem from culverts installed by the county. "We've looked into it, but it's ~UNITEpSTA TES Statement of Ownership, Management, and Cimulation POST/JL SERVICE (All Periodicals Publications Except Requester Rublications) 1 lTl t-I, lobl 4 Is~,ue ~uency 5, N~ofi~u~sPc~L~hl~:~i~ 6 A~k~S~c~o~mPl~J~ 8 Co~p~e ~liil~ ~d~.~ t~ or Generl lu~,w~ s Offl * of FVo~sh~ 'N I pn~aed 12o, ~ ]Sq. S~e 4" /4=,< oK q7"JY6 F'~s~r tName ~ ~ ~ ~o~ress} ,5~,-r-r,=~.~ Nt,W'~ C,~,-,'; .~; :"r"f" A ,u,~s~,-, -~'--''~ H,"-~, oe qG3gg" 1,1. ISS~ i~t, ft~ Otcu~at~a Data ael~v ~. Flee or F.~ ~ Noa~ Ra~e ~n tYmaae tha Ma~ A' eragl ~. Coak~, E*~ I~,~ e outing Pnn:~dlno ~l mon~= Z lS'~ -3o 9 0 30 . X4 73~ '4Za~ Pub~hed ~ to Fi}Mg D~te qql 0 ~t6 f c Pere.e*~ Pale Photo by Scott Swanson gather to discuss demands made by not the result of our work,'; he said. Martel told residents at the meeting to contact him with their problems and he would take photos of their crossings and prepare a presentation for legislators. He said state legislators he has discussed the situation with had counseled residents to sit back until the state Legislature has time to act, which won't happen until February. "If they set up barricades, don't tear them down," Martel said. "Just take pictures." He said legislators had told him they felt "sold out" by the railroad's tactics after they gave Albany & Eastern some $2.6 million in a Connect Oregon III grant to repair the line between Lebanon and Sweet Home. Martel suggested that neighbors e-mail legislators with descriptions of their experiences. "If all the folks on the rail line describe their situations, there's power in numbers. I can't emphasize that enough." He also cautioned neighbors against taking out their frustrations against Rick Franklin Corp. workers who are rebuilding the rail line. "These poor souls are just trying to make a living," he said. From page 1 The end of fire season is close, Pettinger said. Fire officials are waiting for a little more rain to finish soaking the heavy fuels. More rain was anticipated for Monday night with a couple of nice days afterward and another system moving in over the weekend, Pettinger said. "It's anybody's guess, but we could be days away." Last week, fire crews were sitting around in T-shirts wondering if it would ever rain, and they've been busy. The Sweet Home Unit has responded to 64 calls this year, Pettinger said. At the end of the month, the unit was at 50 calls. The biggest fire to date was one just west of Holley that burned nearly two acres. It was started by target shooting. The majority of calls were abandoned campfires, and that continued through last week, Pettinger said. The burn ban remained in effect as of Monday, but the ban is under discussion now. ODF is part of it along with the Linn CoUnty Fire Defense Board. For more information about fire season and burning, contact the Sweet Home Unit at (541) 367- 6108.