…Continued from Rainier.
Clatskanie takes its name from the Tlatskanai Indians, a very warlike tribe that inhabited this area. The Tlatskanai were wiped out by a smallpox epidemic in the 1850s. Clatskanie was first settled in 1852. It was originally called Bryantville. Clatskanie was incorporated in 1891. According to the 2000 census, Clatskanie has a population of 1,528 people.
Unlike the other towns, which the railroad runs right through the middle of, the railroad only skirts along the edge of Clatskanie. At the west end of town, the railroad crosses the Clatskanie River on a swing-type drawbridge built in 1897. This bridge must be manually swung by a handcrank in the center of the span. This is the first of three manual drawbridges the train crosses. The bridge is normally kept open for river traffic, and is only swung closed when a train is waiting. For freight trains, a railroad employee swings the bridge. For the Lewis & Clark Explorer, the bridge was swung by specially trained volunteers. In these pictures, taken from the west side of the bridge, you can see the walkway to get to the span when the bridge is open, and the volunteer walking around the circular walkway in the middle, using the removable pole to turn the handcrank.
This is the bridge at which the Portland & Western freight train crew pushed a carload of lumber into the river on September 2, 2004. The train was operating on the east side of the bridge, so in the pictures it is the far approach that was damaged. Since the bridge was completely open at the time, the main span was not damaged.
Continue to Westport…