Washington County, Oregon to Multnomah County, Oregon

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  • States: Oregon   
  • Railroads: SP   

The West Side and Newberg Branches

The abandoned railroad route between Washington County, Oregon and Multnomah County, Oregon, known as The West Side and Newberg Branches, of which 8.5 miles have been abandoned, was once operated in Oregon by the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD
Docket Number: 7930 Date: 11/11/1929 Section: 1
App. for certificate to abandon portions of its West Side and Newberg Branches in Washington, Yamhill and Multnomah Counties, Oregon, aggregating 8 1/2 miles in length.
Length: 8.5 miles Citation: 162 ICC 391  

This appears to be the route used by the Red Electrics up until 1929, that left Union Station south along 4th Avenue, continuing south on what is now Barbur Boulevard, then northwesterly on Bertha Boulevard, and then due west to Beaverton - formerly known as the Westside Branch. However, this route as mapped in Google Earth, appears to be close to 10.5 miles long so it appears SP may have kept some trackage, likely east of Beaverton, for a period of time.

The only portion of the Newberg Branch that would have been impacted would be from S.W. 4th Avenue, east on Jefferson Street, to the station point of "Jefferson Street" along the waterfront - about a quarter mile of track in all. The line from Jefferson Street to Oswego became the "Jefferson Street Branch" and was ultimately abandoned in the early 1980s; it is now part of the Willamette Shores Trolley and is slated to become a Streetcar line to Lake Oswego.

The Westside Line, after abandonment of this route, was terminated on paper at Hillsboro, connecting with the Tillamook Line which was effectively extended along the old Westside Line to Beaverton, the route through Tigard to Cook, then the Newberg Line to Oswego and to Milwaukie. The Newberg Branch then, on paper, ended at Cook.

Erik H.
Portland, OR
2/27/2011

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The Yamhill County portion must have been the abandoned street trackage in Newberg.

Sheldon Perry
Lake Grove, OR
4/21/2012

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The "abandoned street trackage" in Newberg is neither abandoned, nor part of the Newberg Branch.

That trackage is owned by the SP Newsprint Corporation, the owner of the newsprint mill in Newberg. For many years SP and its predecessors (Publishers Paper, Smurfit Paper) owned their own SW-8 locomotive (and others previously) and operated trains from the mill to the small SP yard in Newberg, usually daily in the morning hours.

Currently, the Portland & Western Railroad serves this trackage on an as-needed basis, as the mill itself has largely curtailed operations and produces paper only when needed due to the global decline in the newsprint business. Shipments include inbound scrap paper and wood waste (used for the on-site power generator), and outbound finished newsprint, that is then forwarded by P&W to McMinnville, Albany, and then onto the Union Pacific.

The remainder of the Newberg Branch, up and over Rex Hill to Sherwood and Tualatin is intact and not abandoned, although it is embargoed and not currently in use.

The Red Electrics had several "city loops" in Forest Grove and Hillsboro (in Washington County) and Newberg (in Yamhill County), plus the downtown Portland trackage. After the end of the Red Electric service in 1929, this trackage was not needed...this this abandonment filing.

Erik H.
Tigard, OR
7/22/2012

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To the best of my knowledge the original SP West Willamette Valley branch line extended from Portland union Station South along 3rd Avenue to Jefferson and the Barbur Boulevard right of way out to Beaverton. I'm surprised P&W would hang a "out of service" sign basically over the tracks from Tualitan-Sherwood and Newberg. Having to send Mill trains the LONG WAY AROUND to main lines out of Portland Oregon.

Luke M.
Lane County, OR
4/19/2014

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Luke, the reds ran from Union Station the full length of 4th, not 3rd. They were then on private ROw which is now Barbur. In 1928 the state wanted SP to enter Portland on the OE from Burlingame so Barbur could be constructed. Trestle footings remain under one of the large four lane McCullough designed Barbur bridges which are wood with concrete decks.

Kenn Lantz
Clackamas, OR
9/27/2015

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