If we, the residents of Blaine and neighboring towns, don't get behind a move to Save the Blaine Station, BNSF will receive the demolition permit and the 100 year old station will be gone forever. The Blaine airport is no more, and the station could suffer the same fate. You can help by signing the PETITION.
BNSF Railway owns the depot and the land, regards it as a liability, and has further no use for it. The building is not on the national historic registry and thus the City will have to issue the demolition permit if all the boxes on the application are checked. However, the City has approached SEPA for a review, which means SEPA will be looking into the environmental impact of such a loss. SEPA directs agencies (City of Blaine) to:
Consider environmental information (impacts, alternatives, and mitigation) before committing to a particular course of action;
Identify and evaluate probable impacts, alternatives and mitigation measures;
Encourage public involvement in decisions
Prepare environmental documents;
If SEPA determines the depot to be of historic value, as it likely will, demolition could still proceed if the loss was mitigated. Mitigation could simply mean moving and restoring the building, or the recording of the building (photos, measurements etc,) ............ before demolition. Therefore it is by no means sure we will have a physical building to enjoy. It is also important that WSDOT designates Blaine as a rail stop. Without that, Federal and State funding will not be available.
The purpose of this group is not only to preserve the building, but for it to perform a useful function as a railway station.
The Pacific Northwest Corridor or the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor (PNWRC) is one of eleven federally designated high-speed rail corridors in the United States. The 466-mile corridor extends from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, BC via Portland and Seattle. It was designated a high-speed rail corridor on October 20, 1992, as the fifth of five corridors called for in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA).The corridor is owned by BNSF Railway in Washington and British Columbia, and is used by a mix of freight and passenger trains operated by BNSF, UP, and Amtrak. If improvements to the corridor are completed as proposed in Washington State's long range plan, passenger trains operating at a maximum speed of 110 miles per hour (180 km/h) would travel between Seattle and Vancouver in 2 hours and 37 minutes by 2023.
A train stop at Blaine would be a boon to our city's economy. Blaine would become a destination, rather than a "pass through". There would be a snowballing effect - the station attracting more business start-ups, and more business attracting more visitors.
If we all rally behind the cause, we would have a significant impact. How can we achieve that?
By chat, e-mail, letters to the press, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. We have seen the influence of social media on the "Occupy Wall St." movement. We're not a protest movement, but we can achieve our goal by spreading awareness, and through awareness gain support - from organizations that recognise the benefits, from elected officials that rely on our votes, from railway enthusiasts, to name but a few.
Public opinion and resolve will play a large role in influencing WSDOT to designate Blaine as a train stop.
Elected officials rely on our votes to stay in office. They will get behind this campaign if we do. Public participation is essential.
An article in "The Great American Stations" shows what can be done with old railway stations, gives some insight into what to expect, and a wealth of other relevant information.
The following photographs depict some before and after shots showing what can be achieved with active community involvement.
This is Mendota, IL, in 1994, prior to the city purchasing the station from the BNSF Railway. The roof had several holes, the heating system was antiquated and the platform condition was poor. The parking lot was an adventure in itself.
Today this totally remodeled station houses the Mendota Railroad Museum and Amtrac waiting room. With a new roof, new ADA compliant platform, new parking lot and a donated steam locomotive with caboose on site, there is increased civic pride in the Mendota community. The depot is now the focal point for every major community event.