Mosier okays UP railroad settlement

A group of Mosier officials voted Monday to accept the terms of the latest $2.4 million offer from Union Pacific Railroad, subject to further negotiations on the scope of the release provided to the railroad in return for their payment and in-kind donations.

The group, Team Mosier, is an organization formed by intergovernmental agreement between the City of Mosier, Mosier Community School and the Mosier Fire District following the train derailment, oil spill and fire that took place in Mosier June 3, 2016.

Local citizens decided they would do better for themselves — and more quickly —through negotiation rather than litigation.

Team Mosier

An inter-governmental group, made up of Mosier Community School, Mosier Fire District and the City of Mosier, reached a $2.4 million agreement with Union Pacific for compensation related to a train derailment and oil spill that occurred last summer.

The railroad will donate 2.5 acres of land valued at $245,000 between the railroad and Highway 30 for construction of a new combination city hall/fire hall/public building and will build a wrought iron fence between the tracks and the donated property, valued at $250,000.

The railroad will also convert the private underpass at Rock Creek to a public access through an easement and move a two-inch pipeline and provide room in the new trench for an electrical conduit, those two in-kind services totaling some $86,000.

In cash, the railroad offers $500,000 toward construction of the fire station/city hall/public building and $250,000 for fire equipment, $350,000 for a dry hydrant, $350,000 to Mosier Community School and $400,000 for miscellaneous community needs.

A dry hydrant is used in rural areas where municipal water systems are not available to supply water for fighting fires. A dry hydrant is usually an unpressurized, permanently installed pipe that has one end below the water level of a lake or pond. In this case the dry hydrant would be installed near the tracks.

Union Pacific estimates the value of in-kind services and donations in this agreement at $581,000 and cash donations of $1,850,000, for a total of $2,431,000. This is on top of earlier payments by the railroad to repair damage done to the city's water treatment plant and other resources.

No estimate is available of the total of those earlier payments.

The toughest part of the negotiations was between the three entities comprising Team Mosier — Mosier Community School, Mosier Fire District and the City of Mosier — over division of that $400,000.

There was agreement that $150,000 of that amount be used to pay the two lawyers who have been working with Team Mosier on negotiations with Union Pacific for more than a year.

Another $70,000 will be held out for contingencies, with $80,000 going to Mosier School, $50,000 to the city and $50,000 to the fire district.

The next step is for the boards of the school, fire district and city to vote their approval of the package.

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