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New hospital at EWEB site would be 'noisy,' railroad says.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Hospitals and sirens go together just fine. But hospitals and train horns?

Hospitals aren't normally built next to railroad tracks, but Triad would do just that if it succeeds in buying the Eugene Water & Electric Board property in downtown Eugene for a new McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center.

Union Pacific Railroad tracks run right past the EWEB site - and how might the rumble and horn blasts affect the hospital?

"These are absolutely fair questions, and certainly they are questions that we have as well," said McKenzie-Willamette spokesperson Rosie Pryor.

But hospital executives haven't spent much time trying to answer them because Texas-based Triad, the majority owner of McKenzie-Willamette, hasn't bought the site from EWEB, she said.

Also, hospital executives are somewhat preoccupied with plans to expand McKenzie-Willamette's existing campus in Springfield, she said.

However, new hospitals are generally more carefully soundproofed than other buildings, Pryor said. New hospitals are not allowed to have windows that open, for instance, and their walls must be soundproofed to comply with privacy requirements for patients.

"There are ways that we can design and build a hospital in a way to mitigate the impacts of passing trains," Pryor said.

Union Pacific spokesman John Bromley said railroad executives are "continually amazed" at proposals to put nonindustrial buildings, namely homes or apartments, near railroad tracks. A hospital near UP's tracks in Eugene would be a "noisy hospital" he said.

- Edward Russo
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Title Annotation:Government
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 19, 2005
Words:235
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