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Crystal Springs Creek culvert under U.P. rails celebrated

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The new 10-foot wide culvert allows Crystal Springs Creek to freely pass under the railroad tracks. It'sjust across McLoughlin Boulevard from Westmoreland Union Manor, visible in the background.In the last issue of THE BEE, we showed you how the Union Pacific Railroad assisted TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services to rebuild and improve the Crystal Springs Creek culvert under its railroad tracks opposite Westmoreland Union Manor – by taking the unusual step of allowing 50-foot sections of its Main Line and two additional tracks to be removed temporarily to allow the culvert work to be completed.

The project partners gathered to celebrate this major accomplishment on September 20, displaying to the media, close-up, the “critical culvert” passing Crystal Springs Creek under the U.P. tracks, and under the adjacent land where rails will be installed for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project.

At a trackside event, sandwiched between the rails and Eastmoreland Golf Course, Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman remarked to THE BEE, “This is a great partnership between TriMet, the Union Pacific Railroad, and the City of Portland. We all have some money in this project.”

The old culvert system restricted fish passage, Saltzman said, causing flooding and higher creek water temperatures hurt juvenile salmon trying to return to spawn in the headwaters of the creek – the lake at Reed College.

Within two years, Crystal Springs Creek will be totally barrier-free for fish, Saltzman explained. “This is an important step toward maintaining a natural ecosystem in our urban environment.”

During his official remarks, TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane told the assembled group, “TriMet tries to help all of its neighbors – even its fish neighbors.”