Retired CORP Marketing Manager Tom Hawksworth is unhappy that the Coos Bay embargo and Roseburg yard Funds freeze are linked together.
Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad is again in the news! As the retired manager of marketing and sales for CORP, it distresses me to see the problems Roseburg faces with traffic and the railroad. Now that I am no longer an employee of CORP, I can express my opinion regarding Winchester Yard.
The Coos Bay Line and the Winchester Yard are two separate issues, and my concern is the restoration of funds for the Yard, and will continue to be because of the benefits to Roseburg, Douglas County and beyond. ConnectOregon is a program started by Gov. Kulongoski to provide funding for non-highway infrastructure to move freight off the highways. It is a great program that could really benefit Oregon.
CORP received $7+ million from ConnectOregon I for Winchester Yard. Those funds were frozen by ODOT. With the restoration of funding, CORP could sort their cars in Winchester instead of Roseburg. Trains could then move through Roseburg on a schedule reducing considerably the blocking of traffic. This would help the city in getting a smoother flow of traffic from 1-5 to Highway 138. CORP had discussed with the city the possibility of selling some of their land for future development when the yard was done. By getting funds restored, Roseburg would benefit by smoothing out traffic and having additional land for development!
The politicians blew a chance to have the Coos Bay Line restored almost immediately. (emphasis added)
CORP was told not to apply for ConnectOregon II funding, as they would not get any. At the same time, the Port of Coos Bay filed an application for about $6.5 million to purchase the line and repair the tunnels. This was doomed for three reasons: 1) the line was not for sale; 2) the purchase price of $800,000 was not even the scrap value of the line; and 3) the remaining $5.7 million in the application was not sufficient to repair the tunnels. ODOT dismissed the application almost as soon as it was submitted. A ConnectOregon application by CORP could have restored the line within months.
Here's the link to the compete News Review article: