Portland’s Steam Locomotives Heroes

by Arlen L. Sheldrake

Most of us know that things don’t just happen. Things happen because the right people at the right time step up to make them happen. Here is my list of those that I think should receive major hero status for acquiring and preserving the steam locomotives owned by the City of Portland, Oregon.:

1956 – AlphBeyrl (A.B.) Clancy, born in Portland, Oregon October 6, 1891, who signed on to Southern Pacific in 1915, who drove the last SP steam locomotive out of Portland; who convinced the City of Portland to request the donation of “one of the passenger 4000 class such as was used on the Daylight between San Francisco and Los Angeles”. This recommendation resulted in SP donating the 4449 to the City of Portland.

1957 – Terry D. Schrunk, City of Portland Mayor, for the idea of a Transportation Museum, forming a 23-person blue ribbonMuseum committee and getting steam locomotive donations from the major railroads including UP 3203 (OR&N 197), SP&S 700 and SP 4449.

1959 – 1972 -Jack Holst, for keeping the bearings lubricated during the years of locomotive storage at Oaks Park.

1969 – John Wayne, the actor, for telling Ross Rowland that his idea for an American Freedom Train (AFT) touring the United States to celebrate the bicentennial was a great idea.

1972 – Wes Camp, for purchasing the Richard K. Wright book Southern Pacific Daylight Train 98-99, Volume 1, (1970) and falling in love with the looks of the Daylight art deco designed 4449 locomotive. This love eventually fuels his argument that he eventually won to use the 4449 for the American Freedom train.

1974 – Ross Rowland, for developing the concept, the business plan and delivering a two-year odyssey as the American Freedom Train toured the country during 1975-76.

1974 -Doyle McCormack, for signing on with the AFT to restore the 4449, managing the time-critical restoration effort, moving to Oregon and spending the next 46 and counting years with the 4449 and Portland.

1974 – Joe Karal, for bringing his Boilermaker expertise to the 4449 restoration project team.

1974 – Donald M. Kendall, PepsiCo CEO, for being the first national corporate leader to recognize the importance of the AFT, for donating the first $1 million, and for convincing fellow corporate leaders to join in the effort.

1977 – Chris McLarney, for forming the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association to restore to operation the SP&S 700.

1998 - Laurel Lyon, for developing and pursuing the idea of building a home for Portland’s steam locomotives resulting in the opening of the Oregon Rail Heritage Center on September 22, 2012.

2011 – Nick Fish, City of Portland Commissioner (2008-2020), for his support of the concept, land acquisition and the building of the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Commissioner Fish participated in both the groundbreaking on October 21, 2011 and opening September 22, 2012.

There are certainly more heroes that deserve recognition; all of these people had help as they didn’t do it all by themselves. I would welcome others to create their own hero lists. These people, I think, represent the key players who contributed significantly these past 60+ years to where we are today.

Sources: Wes Camp, Doyle McCormack& Dan Haneckow.