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Railway causes residents headaches

Staff writer

A group of residents led by Colleen Hajek complained to Marion County Commission on Monday that they were not being treated fairly by Union Pacific Railroad.

Union Pacific plans to begin working on a parallel train track near 180th and Remington roads by September. Part of that plan is closing crossings at 150th and 140th Roads and making 180th and Remington the main crossing point in the area.

Betty Richmond and Joyce Olsen complained that the crossing would constrict farmers moving heavy machinery to their land. Commissioner Randy Dallke suggested that the residents request a private crossing.

Hajek’s complaint was that she was not being offered fair market value to the land Union Pacific is buying from her for the project. Union Pacific is buying anywhere from 2 to 3 acres, their calculation, to 3 to 4, Hajek’s figures. Hajek said the railroad company has yet to make an offer for her land but a representative said they will not pay compensation for future losses or lost income. Hajek is requesting the equivalent of at least 30 years of lost income compensation.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said the residents had no reason to move quickly on the deal.

“A lack of planning on their part does not make a crisis on your part,” he said.

The commission agreed that it supported the county residents and would draft a letter to Union Pacific stating as much.

In other business:

  • The county will not have a burn ban this week. Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini consulted with Hillsboro fire chief Ben Steketee and Marion fire chief Mike Regnier who said a ban was not necessary. The county had a burn ban starting July 11 last year but that was during more than 30 consecutive days of 100-degree temperatures. As of Monday, there had been 10 consecutive days of 100-degree heat in 2012.
  • D’Albini said TBS is analyzing radios in Florence. He said the company has suggested putting Florence on their own scanner.
  • Sheriff Robert Craft is planning Aug. 3 and 4 as dates for an open house for the jail.

Last modified July 18, 2012

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