When the Port of Tillamook Bay acquired the Tillamook Naval Air Station, it also acquired the
Navy's 5.5-mile railroad spur, which connected with the Southern
Pacific Railroad in downtown Tillamook.
Southern Pacific line over the Coast range had been built between 1906
and 1911. But as Southern Pacific began to step away from that line in
later years, the Port began operating it from Tillamook to Batterson in
1983. When Southern Pacific decided to abandon the operation in 1990,
the Port purchased the entire line to Schefflin, with help from the
stretched 95 miles from Tillamook, up the coast to Wheeler, then east
through the Coast Range to the Portland area. It hugged the
mountainsides along the Salmonberry River and included river crossings
and wooden trestles - some 200 feet high.
Port continued operating the railroad until December of 2007, when
flood waters from a major storm destroyed large sections of the roadbed
in the mountainous area of the Salmonberry River Canyon. (See storm damage photos at right.)
Prior to the storm, the railroad had hauled freight six days a week, carrying lumber and feed grains.
still owns extensive
rail rights of way varying in width from 50 to 200 feet. The rail
line is 101 miles in length, of which roughly 88 miles are main line
other 13 miles are spurs and sidings. The Port leases to Portland
& Western Railroad a 3.5 mile section from Banks to Hillsboro. The
Port's facilities in Banks serve Banks Lumber, which has a mill and a
pellet mill. And the Port continues to maintain its coastal track,
which serves Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad.
the extraordinary expense that would be entailed in rebuilding the
damaged rail bed over the mountains, POTB has, instead, opted to use
Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to expand and enhance the
port's industrial park and airport facilities. For more information, go
to our FEMA section.
Port of Tillamook Bay 4000 Blimp Blvd. Suite 100, Tillamook, OR 97141 Phone (503) 842-2413 ♦ Fax ( 503) 842-3680