The Oregon Rail Heritage Center: Rescuing Oregon’s Railroad History

01/18/2020 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM PT




  • Free


Portland's railroad heritage includes three steam locomotives donated to the city in the 1950s. These engines sat adjacent to Oaks Park until 1974, when the first of the three, Southern Pacific 4449, was restored to pull the American Freedom Train in celebration of the US Bicentennial. Eventually 4449 and the other locomotives were moved to an aging roundhouse in what is now the Union Pacific's Brooklyn Yard. When expansion of the yard doomed the roundhouse to demolition, volunteers formed the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation and began to raise money for a new showcase for these treasures of the city's railroading past.

Joining us are three presenters who will discuss the challenges and rewards of building the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. The Center opened in 2012 as the city's first new locomotive house in over half a century and the region's only facility built for the care and restoration of steam locomotives. Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation president Roy Hemmingway will be joined by David Wark, FAIA LEED and Dan Petrescu, AIA LEED from Hennebery Eddy Architects. Hemmingway will provide a short history of railroading in Oregon and focus on how the Oregon Rail Heritage Center came to be, while the architectural team will discuss the challenges of building a public building on a site that, ironically, was "landlocked" by existing railroad lines, and was once home to Oregon’s largest lumber mill.

This talk is supported by the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, in conjunction with the After Promontory exhibit.

This program is held at the Architectural Heritage Center - 701 SE Grand Avenue

Parking is on-street (free on Saturdays) or in the parking lot on the west side of Grand Avenue between SE Yamhill and Belmont Streets - just to the north of the Urbanite. Thank you to Bolliger and Sons Insurance for sharing their lot with us for our evening and Saturday education programs.


Image: Southern Pacific locomotive 4449, Photo by Drew Jacksich, Source: Wikipedia, Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic

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