Steel Over the Willamette by

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A technical and social history commemorating the 100th anniversary of Portland, Oregon's Steel Bridge.

About the Author

Arlen Sheldrake has wonderful childhood memories of Sunday trips to the Hood River, Oregon, train station (accompanied by an occasional Dairy Queen ice cream cone) with his family to watch trains. His father and older brother, John L. and John W., now deceased, were die-hard rail fans, while Arlen preferred the ice cream. After 35 years in public education, Arlen’s retirement time includes a strong focus on rail history as a volunteer with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. After spending some 10 years on the Board of PNWC, four as President, he believes that his life’s niche is providing fodder for the monthly Trainmaster newsletter and projects such as this history of the Steel Bridge. His goal is to preserve some written record of this important and rich local history so future generations know the trials, tribulations and successes of those preceding them. Steve Hauff is best known as the co-author of both The Willamette Locomotive, and The Climax Locomotive. He was also a section author in Railroading Along the Waterfront and was the historical editor of Alaska/Yukon Railroads. Steve was the editor of Tall Timber Short Lines, is the current editor of the Pacific Northwest Chapter's Trainmaster, and has published in more than 20 rail-oriented publications in four countries. When not writing, he lectures on railroad and logging subjects, both nationally and internationally. Steve has a degree in physics, is a licensed civil engineer, and retired public works director. He lives in Port Angeles, Washington, with his wife, Mary. Richard Thompson has worked as an archivist, historical museum director, librarian and streetcar coordinator. His collection of photographs and memorabilia has served as a resource for three books in Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of Rail” series: Portland’s Streetcars (2006), Willamette Valley Railways (2008), and Portland’s Streetcar Lines (2010). A fourth volume, Portland’s Interurbans, will be published in 2012. Richard was a board member and newsletter editor for the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society for nearly 20 years. He is a descendent of Willamette Valley millwrights and holds a Masters Degree from the University of Oregon. He has been writing about Oregon’s street railway history since 1979, but showed an early interest in trains with a Lionel train layout in his basement in Albany, Oregon (SP territory) at the age of 5. Trent Stetz spent his younger years with an operating trolley museum behind his grandparents’ home and the constant sound of the Penn Central crossing his street and nearby river in northeastern Ohio. From those early days, he was hooked on everything related to railroading. The history and operation of stations, bridges, rolling stock and locomotives all fascinated Trent. His very first photograph was of a nearby railroad station. After moving to Oregon to continue his career in “enhancing visual arts through systems science,” he soon became an active volunteer and later director-at-large with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. He enjoys working with this dynamic group and using his artistic, historical, engineering and photographic interests to further the Chapter’s mission. Bob Weaver grew up loving libraries and locomotives and has spent much of the past six decades chasing both. As a high school student in southern California, he discovered the remains of an old mining railroad in the chaparral of the Mojave Desert and began researching the history of the line and the people who built it. He likes nothing better than combing through original source materials to piece together the untold stories of the everyday men and women who built the nation’s railroads and ran them for the past 150 years. Old blueprints, news stories, business correspondence, city memos, engineering reports, personal diaries, and bills of lading are his adventure reading and ticket to ride.
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