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Neighbors take on coal trains

The Historic Milwaukie Neighborhood Association meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 9, at the Ledding Library Pond House will focus on the strong possibility of coal trains rolling through Milwaukie neighborhoods.

Neighbors of the rail lines in downtown Milwaukie are concerned that the trains will spew coal dust from every open coal car as they head to Oregon ports for shipment to China. It is believed that there would be six trains a day, each one- and-a-half-miles long.

"For those of us who experienced the filthy plywood mill, this is far dirtier," said Jean Baker, co-chairwoman of the neighborhood association.

The neighborhood association is inviting as its guests representatives of the Sierra Club and a consortium of other organizations that have researched the issue. The organization sare assisting people in linking communities to help oppose what they see as a "disruptive, foul and dangerous" practice.

"We will hear from some Milwaukie residents that have lived near coal-train tracks," Baker said. "This is not what we want as an adjacent use to our schools, homes and outdoor recreation."

Shippers are currently negotiating with port authorities, and the U.S. Environmental Projection Agency warns shipping coal could have the potential to "significantly impact human health and the environment."

The EPA recently reviewed the proposal that could eventually transport up to 8.8 million tons of coal per year from Wyoming and Montana to the growing Asian market.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating the impacts of the proposed project.