A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A fence hole where a bridge was proposed

Written March 8th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

People have cut a hole in the fence between the Albany Station path and the Albany rail yard.

For a long time now, there’s been a gaping hole in the fence on the path from Albany Station to Swanson Park. That might have been foreseen when plans for the station remodeling were discussed 23 years ago.

The rectangular hole is big enough to crawl through, if you’re so inclined. And apparently some people are.

In 2001, the Albany City Council got a preview of ideas for upgrading the train station. The ideas then included pretty much everything that eventually came to pass, with one exception.

The proposal presented in March 2001 also included a foot and bike bridge across the Albany rail yard from the Jackson Street neighborhood on the southeast side to Pacific Boulevard on the northwest.

The plan including the bridge was the result of months of meetings of consultants with a citizens advisory committee. I attended some of those meetings, I’m pretty sure, and I vaguely remember people mentioning how hard it was to get from one side of the tracks to the other.

That difficulty remains. The two closest streets that cross the tracks are Madison Street in the north and Queen Avenue in the south, 14 or 15 blocks apart, depending on what you count as a block.

So if you’re on foot and don’t want to hike that far, you might try to find a more direct route. That’s where the hole in the fence comes in.

That fence wasn’t there 23 years ago. But everybody who looked at the layout of the geography then could see that a direct route across the tracks would have been a fine idea.

I don’t remember why the bridge was dropped from the plan. One reason probably was that even then, a foot and bike bridge long enough to span the yard would have been enormously expensive to build. (hh)

6 responses to “A fence hole where a bridge was proposed”

  1. Al Nyman says:

    They have pedestrian bridges all over Eugene so the city is willing to spend millions on a trail to Bowman park but nothing on something citizens might use.

    • MarK says:

      Including our crumbling roads

      • Mike D says:

        Those down town streets have not been paved in over 20 years. I’m talking about 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Probably even longer now that I think about it. With the roundabout on Main by 7-11 going in, that increased the traffic on all those other roads. Now they are so busy they have gotten so bad that it’s like driving on cobblestone or even off-road. Maybe we should call for an official audit of the road fund and figure out what happened to all our tax dollars from the homes that pay taxes on those streets. Something is not right here.

  2. Cap B. says:

    Yes, Al, we live in a city that was also willing to spend millions on primping up downtown Albany, for the use of the “well-off,” but zero, zilch on a path that ordinary people would use. Hasso hit on the reason without realizing it. For us oldsters, he unknowingly (probably) typed something we heard all the time when we were young….that is, “how hard it was to get from one side of the tracks to the other.” That brings to mind the old saying about “being born on the wrong side of the tracks” or “living on the wrong side of the tracks.” It means the well-off people lived on one side of the tracks with the nice houses, etc., and the rest of the people lived on the “wrong side of the tracks” in shanty towns and such.

    It still is true, since people are the species who are so racist and awful. For example, if you live in West Albany or North Albany, it is considered hoity-toity. South Albany….not so much.

  3. Mark says:

    There are stairs on the corner of 7th and Jackson also by the pool so you can walk over the bridge.

  4. chris j says:

    Since commenting on this blog I have come to realize that the city government does reflect the opinions of the minority of the people who live here. While it is selfish and entitled, the city is creating an environment that also restricts them to the downtown area similar to Marvin’s Gardens for the homeless. Maybe once they have their playground finished they will be content and allow other areas of the city to be maintained. Hopefully the roads and simple natural environment that is needed for the bulk of the residents to live in peace. When voting in the future, I hope that the citizens of Albany will hold city government positions accountable for their actions thus far. When the government states they will be “progressive” it is important to clarify what that means. Improving the lives of just one sector at a great expense drains the funds for important projects. The city is stuck in a rut of improving the esthetics of the downtown area and where they think is the most wealth rather than the quality of life for everyone. Albany used to be considerate of all good people no matter their income.


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