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Green light for North Bend fire station Next up: Twin bonds for North Bend vote BY ALLISON ESPIRITU



Staff Reporter

Girl Scouts explore ways to eat healthy in recipe book Page 8

Lots of cyclists headed for North Bend, arts benefit Page 9


Vol. 97, No. 10

Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Surveying the Northwest Railway Museum’s new Train Shed Exhibit Building, Executive Director Richard Anderson stands along one of three future track lines in the 25,000-square-foot structure. Once tracks are laid, the building will safeguard the museum’s vulnerable cars from the elements.

Full steam ahead

RR campus takes shape with exhibit building BY SETH TRUSCOTT Editor

Tapping floorboards into place aboard the Northwest Railway Museum’s long, lean car No. 218, volunteer Russ Stegner is restoring history, a plank at a time. The gray-bearded Stegner has loved trains since childhood. Now, at age 73, his efforts at the museum’s Conservation and Restoration Center, or CRC, preserve the legacy of the rails while keeping him in shape, too.

The 1912 Barney and Smith 218 car was the first vehicle in the doors of the CRC, built four years ago to give volunteers a place to restore venerable but deteriorating cars and locomotives to their original glory. This summer, the Northwest Railway Museum’s campus makes its next transformation, with the addition of the new Train Shed Exhibit Building. Construction of the shed is nearly complete; once finishing touches are done, the building will shelter all vulnerable cars in the museum’s collection, safeguarding them from further decay.

“If it had been here 50 years ago, we wouldn’t be doing this,” said volunteer Bob Miller. “We would have been able to preserve a lot of the wooden artifacts we have.”

New shed Wick Constructors of Bellevue are on the final punch list for the $4 million, 25,000-square-foot shed, which covers half an acre. “This is a big deal. This is very positive,” said Richard Anderson, the railway museum’s executive director. Construction began last SEE SHED, 3

With sighs of relief, North Bend City Council members and King County Fire District 38 commissioners unanimously approved an agreement last month to replace current Fire Station 87 with a new facility. The long-awaited approval came at the council’s Tuesday, July 20, meeting and at a board of commissioners’ special meeting on Thursday, July 22. “Thank God we got it done,” said North Bend Councilmember Alan Gothelf. The agreement caps a two-year ordeal between the two entities to propose and finalize the finer details of funding, access, ownership, design and long-term provision of space for the station. Both sides agreed that costs and ownership would be split. District 38 has agreed to pay 57 percent of the projected $5 million station, while the city of North Bend is responsible for 43 percent. District 38 pays more because it includes 63 percent of the assessed evaluation of the station’s service area, while 37 percent lies in the city of North Bend. “They are paying a little less but we are getting 50 percent ownership as a trade off,” North Bend City Administrator Duncan Wilson said. “This is assuming the architect tells us we can build it at the price we anticipate.” With the interlocal agreement final, the push for a new station moves into the voters’ sphere. The fire district will forward a $2.85 million bond to its residents, while North Bend will float a $2.15 million bond. The vote could come as soon as February. “It’s now up to the voters to get it moving,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Dee Williamson. If approved, the new Fire Station 87 would include a public meeting room, bay space for six vehicles, eight sleeping rooms, crew and public restrooms, a decontamination room, a fitness room, storage, living and office spaces, while saving on energy costs. It must meet the standards set by Eastside Fire and Rescue, include the essentials of a modern fire station and fit in and enhance the character of the city of North Bend. The current fire hall, adjacent to North Bend City Hall, was built as a volunteer station in the 1940s and has been remodeled several times. Fire crews living there have dealt with rat infestations, asbestos and cramped sleeping quarters.




ture inside cool. Circulating fans and wall louvres keep air flowing to minimize mold and damp. Special windows block July, just months after a devdamaging ultraviolet rays. astating flood hammered Once complete, the shed museum facilities. Since then, will transform downtown the museum started an annuSnoqualmie, housing rusty al gala benefit and took over cars and drawing sightseers organization of Snoqualmie who now roam a roadside trail Railroad Days. along Highway 202. The last 18 months, Visitors will board trains Anderson said, have been at the North Bend and more eventful than any time Snoqualmie Depots, disemin the previous 18 years. barking at the shed for tours of Workers will soon lay 1,200 that facility and the CRC. feet of track to bring cars into Some cars and signs will the building, which will enter remain along Highway 202. through three huge steel-and“There will still be a reaglass roll-up doors, the largest son for people to stop and of which weighs six tons. walk the trail,” Anderson said. Besides cars, exhibits will be But with the exhibit building, spread throughout the build“we’ll be able to provide a ing. Tracks lead to a rear plaza, much fuller experience, play a where the museum envisions greater role as an educational outdoor receptions and proinstitution. grams. The collection inside “We’ll be playing a role in will change over time, giving the economic vitality of downvisitors incentive to return. town Snoqualmie,” he added. Even after weeks of hotMarysville Globe, Arlington “We’re a destination in our weather, the shed’s insulated own right.” steel walls keep the tempera-

Train shed facts Size: 25,000 square feet; half an acre Height: 35 feet Length: 300 feet, enough for several cars, end to end Cost: $4 million Location: Northwest Railway Museum’s Stone Quarry Road campus, Snoqualmie. Average inside temperature: 65 degrees Foundation depth: 27 feet

Snoqualmie Valley Record • August 4, 2010 • 3

the engines and cars,” Ribary said. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to run a train for people who would like to see that during the week.”

Future plans Post-construction, the museum now focuses on restoration of the Messenger of Peace, a century-old rolling chapel. The museum recently received a $50,000 Partners in Preservation grant to bring the Messenger, once crumbling on the Pacific Coast, to its heydey appearance.

The shed “will be a real attraction,” said Fritz Ribary, exeuctive director of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce. Ribary said he is amazed by how often he sees sightseers walking the roadside trail, viewing the cars. The shed allows them to see the collection in all weather. Times, SVR “It’ll give people an opportunity to have more time to view

When finished, restored cars including the Messenger, the 218 car and its White River Lumber Co. Caboose 001 will be showcased in the exhibit building. A ribbon cutting for sponsors and donators is planned for autumn. The shed is only the second piece of a multi-building campus vision, which has its roots in the museum’s incorporation in 1957. The site had been selected as far back as 2000, with plans for a conservation center and train barn. Still to come are a library, archive and classroom building

and a possible roundhouse. “We’re already working on the library,” Anderson said. “It’s a challenging environment to be fundraising in. But we have a great plan.” “We’re developing a destination campus,” he added. “We’ll be offering a full experience here.” The finished campus will contribute to the local body of knowledge on railroad history. “Almost everybody is connected to the railroad in some way,” Anderson said. “This part of the country was opened up by the railroad.”

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Full steam ahead  

Crucial time for Northwest Railway Museum as new train shed nears completion