DeFazio Releases Inspection Report on Embargoed Rail Line
November 15, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) today released the findings of an inspection performed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad (CORP) line between Coquille, Oregon and Vaughn, Oregon. CORP cited safety concerns when they closed the line in October without advance notice. The FRA conducted the investigation at DeFazio's request.
While there were known problems with the line, CORP never communicated with its customers or the Oregon Department of Transportation that the line had deteriorated so badly that an emergency closure might be necessary. The precipitous closure left shippers without a viable way to get their goods to market. Georgia-Pacific subsequently announced it is stopping operations at its Coos Bay sawmill and laid off 120 workers indefinetly saying the stoppage is related to CORP's embargo of this line.
The inspection confirms that the line has been allowed to deteriorate to such a degree that repairs are before safe operations of the line can continue. The report is available on DeFazio's congressional website at https://www.defazio.house.gov/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=344.
CORP's parent company, RailAmerica, was purchased by Fortress Investment earlier this year. DeFazio has said it appears that Fortress Investment is not interested in providing rail service in southwest Oregon or the responsibility that comes with ownership of such an essential public service. He has urged Governor Kulongoski to use the full resources of the state to support the Port of Coos Bay in taking over the CORP Coos Bay line and in its lawsuit.