After years of negotiations the Joseph Chamber of Commerce has purchased 19 acres of railroad right-of-way land from Union Pacific Railroad at the end of the railroad line in Joseph. The actual purchase, at a price of $89,050, was made through Railroad Realty Services, Inc. which is based in Missouri.

When negotiations began, the objective of the Chamber was to secure land adjacent the rodeo grounds to keep it from being developed for any other purpose. It looks now that the land could be utilized to benefit riders of an excursion train into the Wallowa Valley.

"It makes common sense that if an excursion train comes to fruition that it (the property) would be developable for that type of activity," said Chamber President Fred Steen, who says plans to buy the land were underway before he became president two years ago.

According to the county clerk's office the quitclaim deed to the property was signed Dec. 18, 2002, and recorded in that office Jan. 13, 2003.

The 19 acres of right-of-way land is about 200 feet wide to the southeast side of the railroad track and, according to Steen, extends roughly from behind Valley Bronze to the west toward a green Boise Cascade Corporation building.

All mineral rights into perpetuity remain with Union Pacific. The quitclaim deed also prohibits the construction of any residential dwellings, long term lodgings such as a boarding house or nursing home, or educational or child care facilities on the property.

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