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Old Medco Haul Road is remnant of rail line

My friends and I walk for exercise on the road between the airport and Costco — might be called the Old Medco Haul Road. Past the immigration building there is a structure covered with vines and weeds, what look like oil drums on the ground and wooden steps that lead to a wooden platform about three feet off the ground. Looks like a train or bus station platform. Every time we walk there we wonder what this is and its history. Since I read the Mail Tribune every day and always look forward to your section, thought you would be the perfect one to ask.

— Judith B., Shady Cove

Well, Judith, you're right on the money with the train-station idea. The Old Medco Haul Road used to be a segment of a rail line from Butte Falls to the now-defunct Medford Corporation plywood mill at the Big Y. According to past Mail Tribune stories, Medco shut down the line in 1962 and turned the local segment of the railbed into a road for log-hauling trucks. 

Oregon Department of Transportation acquired the road from Medco in 1996 to give planners flexibility in developing Medford's north freeway interchange. Medite, Medco's final incarnation, shut down in 1997 with the closure of its last plant on Highway 99.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.