A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why old OER railway depot is locked up

Written April 16th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The front of the historic O&E passenger station at 133 Fifth Ave. S.E. on April 13.

A reader wondered why the historic Oregon Electric Railway station in downtown Albany was closed. Is it unsafe or condemned, she wanted to know. No, I checked and it’s nothing like that.

I had not realized the building was locked up until, prompted by the question, I stopped by this week.

On the door there was a sheriff’s notice dated Feb. 3.  It said the occupants had been evicted pursuant to a Circuit Court order, and any unauthorized person entering would be arrested.

Access to court records at the Linn County courthouse is limited to four hours a day because of Covid. But the next day I got a copy of some papers in the case.

Essentially, it’s a case over unpaid rent.

The old railway station at 133 Fifth Ave. S.E. was built in 1912. For about 20 years or more, if memory serves,  it has been the home of Ciddici’s Pizza, which Tariq “Tim” Siddiqui started in the old PayLess Building downtown.

Tim returned to his native Pakistan and has lived in Karachi for the last six years. His brother, Hamid Siddiqui, has operated the pizza restaurant on Fifth, a second one on Belmont Avenue in south Albany, and a third in Corvallis.

The case resulting in the eviction involves two companies, one managed by Tim and the other by Hamid. Tim’s company, in which his brother also has an interest, sued the other over unpaid rent for the Fifth Avenue building.

The Ciddici’s restaurants in South Albany and Corvallis continue to be open.

What will happen to the OER depot, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places? We’ll just have to wait and see. (hh)

8 responses to “Why old OER railway depot is locked up”

  1. LouT says:

    Thank you for the information, Hasso

  2. Bob Woods says:

    Family tussles are the hardest.

  3. Carol jackson says:

    We quit going there because of the filth and less upkeep of the building. So sad as we have enjoyed it in the past. When our 50 year class reunion was there about 6 years ago, we thought it might be cleaned up. No, filthy

  4. Suebee says:

    We met in the “conference/meeting room” a couple years ago for a family get together … it was disgusting the carpet was filthy, bathroom was horrible!

    I love the building architecture and history… hopefully it’ will have new occupants who appreciate/care for the building!

  5. Steve Castro says:

    Still love their pizza. Southside location is cool, but not as iconic as the old train station.

  6. JJ Johnny (Jack) Hartman says:

    If the building is going to sit empty, why not use it to help alleviate a small portion of Albany’s homeless population? Seems fairly obvious. Pizza can’t cut it. Perhaps another use might succeed.

    • centrist says:

      Interesting proposal.
      Whence comes the money to pay the owner of said property.

    • M. Richner says:

      I’m routinely amused by the generosity of people who want to aid the homeless via the use of other people’s property.


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