Monday, January 10, 2011

Portland Freight and the Oregon City Bridge

Union Pacific's Portland, Oregon, to Roseville, California, freight train at Oregon City.

As high pressure passed over the Northwest prior to an approaching storm, we enjoyed a cold but clear day in Portland. This afternoon, Union Pacific's daily freight train from Portland to Roseville, California, is seen passing the Blue Heron paper mill in Oregon City on its southbound trek. This train comes through town almost as regular as clockwork every afternoon (hence, if I'm able to keep up this blog, you'll be seeing a lot of it this year). Not long ago--as recently as 2006--three or more freight trains departed Portland each day for California, but since the economic downturn of 2008, a single train has been able to carry the southbound load.

In the background at left is Oregon City's historic bridge over the Willamette River. The 1922 structure is one of many in engineer Conde McCullough's legacy of graceful concrete arch bridges in Oregon. On Saturday, January 15, the Oregon Department of Transportation will close the bridge for 21 months to replace its aging, cracking concrete. Vehicle traffic will detour via the nearby I-205 bridge (the green structure in the background at center), which will also host a shuttle bus for cyclists and pedestrians. Many businesses in downtown Oregon City worry about how the closure will affect their customer base.

Maureen and I have frequently discussed the bridge closure and its impact on the community. I've been surprised by the intensity of her reactions to the closure. Afterall, I'm the one who loves transportation infrastructure here. Shouldn't I be the most excited? The conversations have reminded me that she has quite a passion for transportation, too, and especially its societal effects. Her enthusiasm comes in concentrated doses when an issue such as this one comes to a head, while mine is spread more evenly, as I'm constantly analyzing the movement of goods and people, and how that impacts society. Why else would I even attempt to post daily photos and thoughts about railroads?

1 comment:

See You Downtown said...

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