The Brooklyn intermodal rail yard, still chugging and causing a fuss

For more than a year in my 20s, I lived within a half mile of this large track of industrial land in southeast Portland, now run by the Union Pacific Corp. The yard itself dates to 1860s, and today serves as a Union Pacific transfer point, where cargo is either moved from rail cars to trucks for local distribution or vice versa to the rail system.

A huge fight broke out in the 1950s between the rail yard owners and neighbors in the Eastmoreland and Sellwood-Westmoreland neighborhoods. A more than five-decades long injunction limiting some rail yard activity was lifted in 2012, and the Union Pacific moved forward with a planned upgrade worth $75 million. However, pollution by the yard is being monitored with the help from nearby Reed College. In 2014, the head of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association bought a drone to monitor activity at the yard. The association represents the upscale subdivision in southeast Portland that is next to the rail yard. I guess it remains, trust but verify in my part of this city. Seriously, a neighborhood association is now using a drone to promote its interests against a major U.S. corporation.


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