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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 29, 2013 11:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Is Port of Portland looking for handout for West Hayden Island?. The next post in this blog is Why Williams and Edlen are rooting for Florida Gulf Coast. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

All aboard for condos

We see they're cranking up the Lake O. historic trolley again. The resumption of operations at this time really makes no sense, as the Sellwood Bridge project cuts off the route to Portland:

When the trolley starts running again, it won’t go the entire route to Portland’s south waterfront, since construction of the new Sellwood Bridge has cut the line in half. Cox said it will go just 1.5 miles from Lake Oswego to the Riverwood Crossing. He expects that within four years the trolley will run to Portland again.

The real story appears to have eluded the bright young O reporter. Apparently the developer weasels who want to run a streetcar down Highway 43 and build condos on the east side of the highway need to keep the right of way in use by something on rails. Otherwise, the adjoining property owners in Dunthorpe can sue to take their easement back.

That's the most likely explanation for the sudden restart of the trolley. There's usually a greasy motive for everything in this town, but Portland Polite forbids discussion of any of it.

Comments (13)

"The Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society, which operates the the trolley, was able to lease the car with money from the government agencies that own the line."

Did I miss something here? One agency gave money to the OERHS to lease the car from another public agency. And if I ride the trolley, I get to pay for the privilege of paying for the privilege. Whom do I make the check payable to, Metro, Trimet or ?

My head was already hurting. Martha, where's the aspirin?

Nothing to see here....Move along.

Just wait! They will try to extend it to Oregon City next. And so a new bridge will also be needed....maybe a float one that will further impede pleasure boat traffic. After all, boats are probably more evil than cars!

Ms. Edwards:

You failed to provide any answer to what is often the most important question in any story and is part of Journalism 101:

Why is this event happening? And if the people feeding you this story give you an answer to that first question, the next question is: Is there a different credible opinion out there from someone other than those feeding you the story as to why this event is happening?

The reporter photos that the O runs with every story on the internet these days are revealing. Most of these kids are fresh out of college and gullible as all get-out. You get what you pay for.

2013 Mar 29 Friday 16:05 U (4:05 PM PT)

Would somebody in the City of Lake Oswego or a member of the Willamette Shore Line Consortium please get a geology report for the Elk Rock Tunnel. Prior to a Cascadia Subduction Earthquake event that will make the pavement of OR Hwy 43 become a part of the new Elk Rock Rapids at Willamette River mile 19.0. Note this is east and 200 ft below the intersection of OR Hwy 43 / Breyman Avenue at OR 43 mile point 4.90.

Lets not forget the $200,000 2012 project to line the Elk Rock Tunnel with concrete.

" Otherwise, the adjoining property owners in Dunthorpe can sue to take their easement back." Are you sure? Most easements do not have a cluse that says if you don't use the easement the easement expires. If I own a piece of property and I have an easement to cross your property to get to mine if I don't use that easement the easement cannot be taken from me. It stays with my property forever unless I give it back.

Lake Oswego, Portland, Clackamas County, Multnomah County, TriMet, Metro and the Oregon Department of Transportation bought the rail line for $1.2 million in 1988. Sounds like they own the land and not an easement

The rail right of way bought by the local governments' consortium in 1988 is indeed a mixed bag - some (most) portions are owned outright, i.e., fee simple, but some pieces are just an easement. Many of those easements do contain a clause that the purpose is for rail use only, and that if no longer used for rail purposes the easement expires and ownership reverts back. Just when rail use "ends" is apparently not a clear legal issue, however, and thus there can be fairly long periods with nothing rolling on the tracks and still not trigger expiration of the easements. So, yes, there will be some sort of periodic rail use even if it has to be subsidized by the consortium. And that's a good thing - $1.2M was a very good price to preserve for the public a right of way that someday, maybe not in your or my lifetime, but someday will be needed for public transit.

Metro council person, Carlotta Colette, threatened new LO Mayor this year that it didn't matter that LO didn't want a streetcar, it was going to get one "whether it liked it or not". Bully tactics backed by the full force of the bully regional government.

METRO overlords are out of control. They have destroyed our bus system, are systematically destroying our auto infrastructure, and will do anything to get their way on their European bike and rail vision. Whether we like it or want it or not. With no Metro, that means fewer planners and tyrants in the world to impose their will on us. It will take all of us to eliminate the Portland Creeps.

Best motivational speech ever:

A "psychotic" Bluto gave a motivational speech to his frat brothers after the Delta House Fraternity had been closed and they had all been kicked out of school. When he was told by D-Day: "War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one," he said:

"What? Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!...

It ain't over now, 'cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me? Let's go! Come on!...

What the f--k happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're gonna let it be the worst. 'Ooh, we're afraid to go with you, Bluto, we might get in trouble.' (shouting) Well, just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...

Otter (Tim Matheson) agreed with Bluto: "Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now, we could fight 'em with conventional weapons. That could take years and cost millions of lives. No, in this case, I think we have to go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."

We're just the guys to do it...LET'S DO IT!

Reader, I look forward to a giant rolling cake appearing sometime soon on Macadam.

Many of those easements do contain a clause that the purpose is for rail use only, and that if no longer used for rail purposes the easement expires and ownership reverts back. Just when rail use "ends" is apparently not a clear legal issue, however, and thus there can be fairly long periods with nothing rolling on the tracks and still not trigger expiration of the easements

My understanding is that after two years the adjoining property owners can deem the rail line "abandoned" and file with the Surface Transportation Board for a legal abandonment which would cause the land to revert to the adjoining property owners.

My other understanding is that this route is entirely encumbered with a revisionary right, it is not owned fee simple. The land was part of a land grant for the Oregonian Railroad (which was later absorbed into the Southern Pacific Railroad).

So there is no surprise that the powers-that-be are eager to get something running on the track - although I believe the "two years" actually ticked over sometime last summer, but maybe it would be this summer...I can't recall precisely. Because it takes just one landowner to file with the STB.

As for the Sellwood Bridge, that's a temporary matter. The railroad hardware was removed and is in storage at the east end of the project site and can be readily rebuilt. What is a much larger matter is dealing with the various right-of-way encroachments that have been allowed over the last 20 or 25 years since Southern Pacific abandoned the route and sold it to the "consortium of governments". There are driveways built atop the railroad and the owners of said driveways have money and lawyers. Will the Streetcar have to come up with a special signal to mount inside these residents' garages telling them not to back their car up lest it be hit by a streetcar? Or will the Streetcar have to creep along at five miles an hour, sounding bells and whistles at all hours of the day and night?

But why the "lease agreement" is ridiculous. TriMet and the City of Lake Oswego jointly manage the property. There are bridges along the line that have TriMet - No Trespassing signs (complete with the TriMet logo). TriMet also manages the Vintage Trolleys. So it's basically the City of Lake Oswego paying the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society, to pay TriMet, to unload an asset TriMet already has a negative cost for (since TriMet does not make a penny off the Vintage Trolley). It's as insane as ODOT giving money to the Wallowa-Union Railroad Authority, to buy three railroad cars from ODOT - so party A (ODOT) gave the money to party B (WURA), who gave the money right back to party A (ODOT). And now the WURA is selling those railroad cars.

Metro council person, Carlotta Colette, threatened new LO Mayor this year that it didn't matter that LO didn't want a streetcar, it was going to get one "whether it liked it or not". Bully tactics backed by the full force of the bully regional government.

Maybe a nice little investigation of Ms. Colette is in order to find out who is demanding she shove light rail/streetcars down everyone's throats. I think there's some payoff involved, and it's time to uncover it. Dig up the dirt and air out the dirty laundry. There is someone behind her, to cause her to threaten the citizens and taxpayers like that. She has a personal, financial interest...it's time to uncover it, and for everyone else at Metro and all of the other governments, to expose this scandal once and for all. And doing that will probably be a very effective way of bringing down both Metro and TriMet - and if the feds actually notice, our region will probably never see another federal transit dollar in at least ten years.

My gut feeling is that while some people in government do profit financially, many others just like the power which is a different kind of payoff. Big companies and little guys curry their favor, and they get to be god-like and grant it or not. Plus, the culture takes over and they get the feeling their ideas are better than the public's. They get to play god by creating an environment, and then placing little people to live in their newly created utopia.

Money is a driver, yes, but so is hubris. The crushing reality of how so many of these politicos get wrapped up in their roles as overlords is the fact that they never seem to want to leave the stage gracefully. I just want to yell at them, "Leave us alone! Go get a life!"


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