Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Message to Port of Tillamook Bay – 2/1/18

by Jessica Jung, General Manager, Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

• The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad understands the difficulty the Port of Tillamook Bay faces with this trail project.
We have welcomed the concept of rail-with-trail and trusting the POTB and STIA would administer equitable transparency when negotiating their lease. The recent article in the Tillamook Headlight Herald, quotes the POTB General Manager to say,

“I think it’s important to note that there are multiple terms of the draft STIA agreement that are still under negotiation,” POTB General Manager Michele Bradley said, “but we’re all working hard to understand and deal with the concerns of stakeholders, including OCSR. With a project this large, and importance to so many people, coordination and communication can be challenging sometimes, but I think we’re all working toward the same goal.”

Since our Call To Action campaign went live on January 27th, we have reiterated the difference between gestures of goodwill and legal language. We have reminded the POTB and the people of our communities there is transparency and there is closed-door executive sessions. We welcome lease negotiations between the POTB, STIA and the OCSR in solidarity. That is the only way this project will work in everyone’s best interest.

• The justifiable concern of the OCSR and folks in the communities of Tillamook County is, why is it appropriate for the POTB to relinquish their rights and responsibilities to the numerous current leases?
How it is appropriate for local officials to hand over decision-making authority to an outside trail group is the real point of contention. Michele Bradley also claims in the article,

“First, the Port would need to receive an offer that it wants to accept, from an outside entity, for all or part of the trail/rail,” Bradley said. “If the offer is for a portion of the project trail/rail that is covered under OCSR’s rail use agreement, then OCSR has the first right of first refusal…If OCSR declines to exercise its right of first refusal, then STIA is next in line, to either exercise or decline its right of first refusal. So, for portions of the rail/trail that are covered under the OCSR rail agreement, STIA has a second right of first refusal. If it is portion of the trail/rail, that is not covered under OCSR’s rail agreement, then STIA has the first right of first refusal.”

• The OCSR’s Call To Action is not regarding the First Right of Refusal.
Currently, OCSR’s First Right of Refusal is for the entire rail line from Tillamook to Banks. Bradley is not incorrect about the process with which a purchase offer would be managed however, the OCSR did not execute a Call To Action over the First Right of Refusal in the STIA/POTB lease.

We the people are demanding the POTB Commissioners to consult with their legal team regarding the current language that gives up their rights and responsibilities to their land and current lease agreements. Call for a revote.