Banks to Tillamook Rail/Trail Feasibility Study
Banks to Tillamook Rail/Trail – Chugging Forward
The Port of Tillamook Bay (POTB) rail road through the Salmonberry River canyon once connected the Willamette Valley to the Oregon Coast. Decimated by significant floods and debris flow, the rail connection has been cut off since 2007. A portion of the line is being used by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway to conduct scenic tours of the Coast and Tillamook Forest. Many people have expressed interest finding a way to restore the full connection to the Willamette Valley, not necessarily as a rail line, but as a trail opportunity.
A coalition of interested parties including: State Senator Betsy Johnson and Representatives of Tillamook County, Port of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook County, Cycle Oregon, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and Oregon Department of Forestry have come together to explore the possibility of a trail connection along the 86 miles of the POTB rail road. The primary focus of this group is to determine what challenges and obstacles need to be identified and overcome if a trail connection is to be considered through this area. While not a full feasibility study, the examination of potential issues will look at ownership, existing use, natural and cultural resource considerations, construction costs, economic development opportunities, recreation potential, long term maintenance, and operation issues. This high level analysis will be used to create a framework for interested parties to make decisions about moving forward with a more complete planning effort.
Time Table to the Station
The group has met to identify the resources and constraints each partner can bring to the table. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Oregon Department of Forestry have been identified as lead partners in pulling together the high level analysis for the group’s consideration. In the Fall, two listening post sessions were held in Banks and Tillamook, to get initial public reaction to the concept. The goal is to have the analysis and framework for decision making ready by Winter, 2012. If the framework identifies a reasonable path forward, a further series of public listening sessions will be scheduled to present this information and hear public comments in regards to a potential trail connection along this line.
How to get a Ticket
As the initial data gathering is being done, a website and general information about the Salmonberry Rail/Trail effort will be developed to help keep people informed about the process and invite feedback. Interested parties are encouraged to comment via this blog, write to Mark Davison at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 503-986-0744 to find out more information and get on the mailing list for updates.