blow for safety
To the editor:
This letter is in response to the recent run of complaints pertaining to the excessive horn use at railroad crossings in Baker City at late hours.
As a Union Pacific employee, I would like to clarify national railroad crossing policy. We are mandated by the Department of Transportation document number FRA-2007-27285, established by the Federal Railway Administration, to provide ample warning for public safety.
This states that the engineer must begin signaling between 15 to 20
seconds before approaching the crossing and continuing until the lead
engine completely occupies the crossing. Currently there are four
public crossings, three private crossings, and one pedestrian crossing
within the city limits.
Each one of these requires the engineer to signal upon approach.
Engineers are also required by law to sound warnings when encountering
maintenance personnel repairing track and trespassers on railroad
The gates are an electronic warning device, and like all mechanical
devices, can and will fail on occasion. It is not uncommon to see a
pedestrian or automobile weave around the gates or hurry through before
they are all the way down.
Yearly there are hundreds severely injured or killed at road crossings.
There have been several accidents over the years, right here in Baker
More information is available for public access at www.fra.dot.gov or
at www.up.com. Please remember, these laws are for your safety.
Let’s drink to downtown fountains
To the editor:
Baker City is well-known for excellent pure water.
In former years drinking fountains graced the sidewalks on Main Street, in the historic area.
Each 3-foot stone pedestal offered piped-in, bubbly drinking water. The
continual flow drained into a copper splash bowl and then exited
through the bottom. Passersby relished a refreshing drink from the
These instant thirst quenchers were located near curbside at the old
Post Office sidewalk, another in front of the Orpheum theater
(now Marilyn’s Music) and one near the front entrance of Geiser Grand
Hotel. An additional fountain was also located on the north lawn at
Union Pacific Depot. There may have been others, but these come to
I would like to see at least one of these bubbling entities
reinstalled. These would serve not only as a convenience for local
shoppers, but as a welcoming gesture to visitors as they stroll Main
Street. I visualize a drinking fountain available at the Court Street
In the new version, a molded splash bowl of high-tech material would be
desirable atop the stone structure. This would not attract vandals as
readily as the copper lining used in originals.
Are there other residents who favor installation of a downtown drinking
fountain in the historic district? If so, let it be known to city
officials or Historic Baker City leaders for consideration.
In future seasons we may possibly ‘drink to that.’