As the Chair of the Brooklyn Action Corps, I have been contacted by several different people recently wanting to know more about the changes currently happening at the Brooklyn Rail Yards. Unfortunately, I have not yet heard anything from the Union Pacific Railroad about what future changes they have in mind.
What I do know is that starting on September 1, 2009, the Union Pacific has begun consolidating all of their Portland Intermodal Yard operations into the Brooklyn Yard. The biggest effect of this change will be additional truck traffic along Holgate, SE 17th, and McLoughlin Boulevard.
Another consequence of this expansion is that the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation and the three historic steam locomotives owned by the City of Portland will have to move out of their long time home in the Brooklyn Yards. The trains will stay for now, but will have to move elsewhere by January of 2012.
One of the big unknowns at this point is how additional heavy rail operations in the area will effect future light rail operations along SE 17th Avenue. The chalenge of designing a safe and attractive light rail station at the corner of Holgate and 17th has just gotten a whole lot tougher.
The Brooklyn Action Corps will continue to monitor this issue in the months to come.
Chair, Brooklyn Action Corps