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City Of Portland Releases Ideas For Developing West Hayden Island

OPB | Sept. 26, 2011 7:42 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:03 a.m. | Portland, OR

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Planners from the City of Portland unveiled their ideas for West Hayden Island Monday.

One of the biggest surprises is that a proposed port and rail yard could fit on 300 acres.

The Port of Portland has been eyeing the Columbia River island for years. The eastern end of the island is already developed, with shops and homes. 

The western end has more than 800 acres of almost untouched wildlife habitat. But it could also serve as a rail yard and deep water port.

Portland planner, Eric Engstrom, says the Port doesn’t use older docks along the Willamette because they’re too small.

“A key component is getting good rail access. We’re talking about trains that are up to two miles long. It’s hard to get it onto a small site And we’ve documented through this process that we can get it on 300 acres but a lot of those Willamette River sites are considerably smaller than that,” Eric Engstrom said.

Bob Salinger of the Audubon Society of Portland doesn’t want the area developed.  But he says for years the Port of Portland has insisted it would need at least 450 acres — so he’s pleased to see they’re now looking at only 300 acres.

A public meeting to discuss the island’s future has been scheduled for October 12th.

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