NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2001 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

EUREKA CITY HALL
531 K STREET, EUREKA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

            Chair Ripple called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair David Ripple, First Chair Allan Hemphill, Max Schlienger, Robert E. Simonson, and Daniel Opalach.

            Directors absent:  Robert Jehn and Jake Mackenzie.

Also present:  Executive Director Max H Bridges, General Counsel Christopher J Neary, and Administrative Assistant Pamela Fishtrom.

 

C.        MINUTES

1.                  Approve Minutes of January 17, 2001 Regular Board Meeting

2.         Approve Minutes of February 6, 2001 Special Board Meeting

 

Dir. Schlienger moved approval of both sets of Minutes; seconded by Dir. Hemphill. Vote taken; Dir. Opalach abstained because he was not present at the February meeting; motion passed.

 

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval of the Agenda; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Larry Henderson, Northwestern Pacific Railroad Support Coalition (NWPSC), Northern Counties Logging Interpretive Association (NCLIA), and Humboldt Bay Citizens for Port Development (CPD) requested priority be given to repairing the Line from Samoa to South Fork.

 

Fred Carmichael, proponent of the Railroad since 1985, suggested prayer by Board Members.

 

Dwight Winegar, local concerned citizen, suggested a citizen’s committee perform a fact-finding mission on potential local transit usage and feasibility.

 

Pete Oringer, of NWPSC, NCLIA, and North Coast Leadership Roundtable, emphasized that the Humboldt Bay area is suffering socially and economically due to the closure of NWP (Northwestern Pacific Railroad).  Also, he recommended a structured approach in garnering political support in dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) performance on the Environmental Assessment process.

 

Marcus Brown, NCLIA President, with concurrence by California Redwood Coast Agency, said the goals of both agencies to operate excursion passenger service are compatible. Also, he encouraged the hiring of Stone Engineering in preparing to offer the use of the tracks to excursion operators.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.                  Consider Easement – Caltrans Representative Jeff Purdie

Mr. Purdie reported Caltrans is planning to repair a slope failure which impacts the Railroad, and he requested the Board accept his appraisal of the easement price.  

 

Dir.Hemphill moved to accept the Caltrans appraisal along with our processing fee; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Roll call vote taken; each Director signified approval by a vote of “aye;” motion carried.  Dir. Hemphill amended the motion to authorize Mr. Bridges to sign the documents; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried.  

 

2.                  Consider Recommendation of Passenger Committee

 

Dir. Hemphill brought forward two recommendations from the Passenger Committee as a motion:  1) to have Dir. Opalach and staff develop a request for proposals matrix for passenger service for presentation to the Board, and 2) to sell the passenger equipment, when practical, with preference to an operator that will perform on the Railroad; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

G.         LIAISON REPORTS

1.                  Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) – Mr. Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported NWPRA received a report from the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit Commission consultant on establishing service between Cloverdale and San Rafael.  Also, there was discussion regarding the Haystack Landing Bridge; however, there was no discussion about the loan from NWPRA to NCRA for its repair.  Mr. Neary is negotiating with NWPRA staff to secure the loan.

 

2.         Legislation

No report. 

     

3.         Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission (SMART) – Dir. Jehn

                        No report.

 

4.           Web Site – Dir. Jehn

Mr. Bridges read a report by Dir. Jehn, who apologized for not attending the Meeting, which said NCRA’s web site received 5,289 hits this month, the web site contains 175 pages, there are 200 subscribers, there was added a creditor update section which received 55 visitors, next week a video will be added of the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Petaluma.

 

5.         Contractor – Northwestern Pacific Railway CO. LLC (NWPY)

                        John Darling, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, reported:

·        February 1 – the Federal Railroad Administration granted a partial waiver from the provisions of  Emergency Order 21 to Mile Post 43,

·        February 6 – the Surface Transportation Board published a notice of exemption establishing NWPY as a common carrier of freight by rail, and

·        February 13 – NWPY handled its first revenue load into Petaluma.

·        Work is continuing between Petaluma and Windsor: track work is complete, however, approximately 30 signals must be tested and repaired including two hit by lightning, one hit by fleeing criminals, and one damaged by P. G. and E.

 

Chair Ripple directed Mr. Bridges to contact Celia Kupersmith, NWPRA Executive Director, to facilitate repair of the crossing damaged by P. G. and E.   In response to Mr. Darling’s concern over repair of the Line between Windsor and Willits, Mr. Bridges arranged an appointment between NWPY and Boyle Engineering to complete preparation of the bid package.  Mr. Darling suggested establishing a policy regarding equipment on the line that is not owned by NCRA or NWPRA.

                 

H.        EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT – Max H Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported:

·        He will meet with Caltrans regarding the draft audit report dealing with Rail-Ways the same day he is meeting with Boyle Engineering and Mr. Darling over the bid package mentioned earlier,

·        He will attend the annual meeting of City and County Engineers March 7-9, 

·        He will meet with Caltrans on March 12 to go over NCRA’s strategic plan for presentation to the California Transportation Commission, 

·        He and Mr. Neary will meet with the parties to the Consent Decree to define the scope of work to be included in the request for proposals for environmental work,

·        Caltrans is reviewing NCRA’s request for qualifications for an engineering consultant, and

·        The recruiting process for the position of Project Manager is continuing and should be resolved by the next Board meeting.      

 

I.          LEGAL REPORT – General Counsel Christopher J Neary

            No report.

 

J.         MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Opalach reported meeting with the McKinleyville Rotary Club to give an update on the status of the Railroad, and with the NWPSC to share information.  He also reported he has a meeting with Congressman Mike Thompson’s staff person in Eureka, Liz Murguia, to talk about NCRA issues.

 

Dir. Schlienger expressed concern regarding the clean up of the track.  Mr. Bridges assured him the track will be cleaned as part of compliance with the Consent Decree with the cost funded by the Traffic Congestion Relief Program.

 

Dir. Hemphill reported Sonoma County is developing Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square.     

 

K.       ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

Regular Board Meeting – March 21, 2001 at 10:00 a.m.                         

Healdsburg City Council Chambers, 401 Grove Street, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, CA, USA

 

L.        CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 11:30 am

 

M.       ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 12:35 pm

            Conference with Legal Counsel – Initiate Litigation – Mr. Neary

            Government Code Section 54956.9(c)

            Determine with Reference to Improved Project

            Chair Ripple announced the Board received information and provided direction to Legal Counsel.

 

N.        ADJOURNMENT 

            Chair Ripple adjourned the meeting at 12:40 pm