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Benton County Looks For Public Direction On Abandoned Rail Line

Benton County

Last fall, Benton County commissioners OK-ed the purchase of about 18 miles of the defunct Bailey Branch rail line.  Now they're looking to the community for ideas on how to use the land.

The Bailey Branch runs south of Corvallis to the town of Monroe, and includes a spur that goes to the community of Dawson.  Benton County Spokesman Rick Osborn says the purchase was about maintaining the right-of-way for future rail usage.

Osborn: "It's really difficult to restore right-of-way for a section that long, but it's a lot easier if you've already got it."

But, that doesn't necessarily mean the land will be reserved for train use.  In fact, Osborn says the rail company is currently removing the rail infrastructure from the property.  Now Benton County is taking community input.  

Osborn: "It's really to figure out what the public wants to see happen with that property and then to put together a consistent and solid strategy about what we want to do with it in the future."

Among the suggestion received so far, is for a walking trail. Benton County wants a management plan ready for commissioner consideration by September.

For more information and to find out how to submit comment, click here.

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