Partnership to remove fish passage barrier on Crystal Springs Creek begins Aug. 3


Union Pacific Railroad, City of Portland, Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project work together to improve habitat

Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), the City of Portland and the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project (PMLR) are working together to replace a Crystal Springs Creek culvert under the UPRR tracks just east of SE McLoughlin Boulevard. The new culvert will also be under the light rail extension.

The work is part of a Portland Bureau of Environmental Services project to replace eight culverts on Crystal Springs Creek that block fish access to salmon habitat. Removal of this culvert is funded in part by the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. The culvert under the UPRR alignment was not accessible until light rail project construction provided the opportunity to replace it.

“Union Pacific collaborates often with state and local agencies in Oregon that make the communities in the state some of the most livable in the U.S.,” said Brock Nelson, public affairs director, Union Pacific Railroad. “Our efforts related to Crystal Springs Creek are part of our ongoing commitment to the communities where we operate trains.”

This culvert, and eight others on the 2.7-mile, spring-fed creek restrict fish passage, cause flooding and can lead to a rise in creek water temperatures that harm juvenile salmon. The new fish-friendly culverts will allow salmon to access habitat the length of the creek and will reduce potential flooding. The replacement of all nine culverts is scheduled to be complete in 2014.

“Crystal Springs Creek has some of the best salmon habitat in Portland but culverts have prevented fish from using it,” said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “Replacing the culvert under the railroad tracks is an important part of the city’s efforts to restore habitat for threatened coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.”

The culvert replacement is just one of several PMLR project elements that improve the environment, enhance habitat or engage in sustainable practices.

“We’re pleased that the light rail project and our partners are leveraging this opportunity to improve fish habitat along this critical alignment. It’s another demonstration that TriMet focuses on sustainability and enhancing neighborhoods as it expands transit options in our community,” said TriMet Capital Projects Executive Director Dan Blocher.

To shorten the duration of work and minimize impact to UPRR operations, replacement of the culvert under the UPRR and PMLR alignment will take place the weekends of

August 3-6 and 10-13, with work continuing from 7 a.m. both Fridays to 6 p.m. both Mondays. Construction activities outside of normal hours are approved under a noise variance from the City of Portland.

About UPRR

One of America’s iconic companies, Union Pacific celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2012. Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862, creating the original Union Pacific. Today, Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP), linking 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail and providing freight solutions and logistics expertise to the global supply chain. From 2000 through 2011, Union Pacific spent more than $31 billion on its network and operations, making needed investments in America’s infrastructure and enhancing its ability to provide safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible freight transportation. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Coal, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and emphasizes excellent customer service. Union Pacific operates competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways.

About Environmental Services

The Bureau of Environmental Services provides Portland residents and businesses with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration.

About the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County. About the project:

  • 7.3 miles
  • 10 stations
  • The first of its kind multi-modal bridge over the Willamette River that will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension, but no private vehicles.
  • Opens in September 2015
  • Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners

Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.

For more information about the project, visit