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New rail heritage center breaks ground near OMSI

City officials and rail enthusiasts will break ground Friday morning on a new home for Portland's historic locomotives.

The groundbreaking ceremony is at 11:30 a.m. on Southeast Caruthers Street near the new Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard viaduct, close to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Southeast Portland.

City Commissioner Nick Fish and former Commissioner Mike Lindberg will join members of the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation to break the ground for the city's new Oregon Engine house and Rail Heritage Center.

The new steel building will combine modern technology with traditional design elements in the 19,200-square-foot museum. The Engine house will be the new home for Portland's three heritage steam engines: the Southern Pacific 4449; the Spokane Portland and Seattle 700; and the Oregon Railway and Navigation 197.

Portland's City Council voted unanimously this summer to approve the new, permanent home for the heritage steam engines. The trains must move from their home at the Brooklyn Rail Yard roundhouse. The Engine house and Rail Heritage Center will provide space for locomotive maintenance and restoration, as well as public access to the large engines.