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Plans for quieter Eugene railroads face permit delays

Nathan Wilk
A railroad, located on a road in the Whiteaker neighborhood. New safety measures would include quad gates, which would prevent drivers from going through closed crossings.

Plans for a Railroad Quiet Zone in Eugene have stalled amid permit disputes.

In Eugene, trains must signal when they approach a crossing, due to federal safety regulations. But that creates noise for nearby communities. A Railroad Quiet Zone in downtown and the Whiteaker would include alternative safety features, allowing for a 70% noise reduction.

The project is funded and ready for construction, but Eugene and Union Pacific Railroad are deadlocked over maintenance costs. Brian Richardson is the city’s Public Works Public Affairs Manager.

“Traditionally, it has always been the railroad that has maintained the signals.”

According to Richardson, Eugene is pursuing a legal resolution. He says the city has delayed the project for multiple years while seeking permits.

Robynn Tysver, a representative for Union Pacific, says the company is committed to working with the city to meet federal requirements.

Nathan Wilk is a KLCC Reporting Intern through the Snowden Internship Program. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Wilk began volunteering in radio at 11-years-old, and he has served as a radio DJ and host on multiple local stations. Today, he is a Journalism undergraduate at the University of Oregon with a focus in local artistic communities. In his free time, Wilk enjoys writing music and reading old horror novels.