On August 23rd, Humboldt Eastern Railroad, LLC. presented a check for $5,000 to Chet Albin, representative with the Eureka Police Foundation, for the purchase of External Vest Carriers for Eureka Police Department officers. Officer’s commonly wear 25-30 pounds of gear on their person while on duty. The vest carrier greatly reduces the stress to the officer’s lower back and hip area by moving items carried on their duty belt to their upper body region.
Awarding the check, from left to right, are: Chief Steve Watson; Sergeant Greg Hill; Humboldt Eastern Railroad LLC’s Peter Oringer; Chet Albin, Pacific Northwest Railroad’s (PNR) President, Helen Painter; PNR’s Vice President, Michael Marsden; and PNR CEO Alan Painter.
PNR, with the support of Humboldt Eastern Railroad, plans to build three green, marine container terminals on the Samoa Peninsula and connect Humboldt Bay to the national rail network in the Central Valley with a 2-track, 220 mile railroad using hydrogen fuel-cell powered locomotives that emit only water and heat.
William G. Bertain (age 70) was born and raised in Humboldt County, California. Mr. Bertain obtained a degree in Philosophy from Saint Mary’s College in the Great Books Program in 1969 and served as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. Mr. Bertain later enrolled in the University of San Francisco School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1976 and practiced civil litigation thereafter.
Mr. Bertain was inspired by local visionary Lloyd Hecathorn of the opportunity to offset local economic setbacks by utilizing Humboldt Bay as a land bridge when connected with a railroad. While opposing the abandonment of the north-south line railroad, North Ocean Pacific, by Southern Pacific in 1982, Mr. Bertain learned of the 1909 reconnoitering by Jesse Lentell of a route from Humboldt Bay East to the Central Valley. In 2009, Lentell’s 78 pages of notes were located and gradually greater thought was given to the possibilities of an East-West rail line.
Since the 1978 expansion of the Redwood National Park, Bertain has headed various committees and subcommittees, including Citizens for Port Development and the action group entitled Rail and Port Infrastructure Taskforce (RPIT). For several years starting in 2011, Bertain helped to coordinate the effort to obtain letters of support and endorsements for a feasibility study for an East-West rail.
William H. (Bill) Helwer-Carlson M.S. (age 71) is an experienced rice farmer in California who grew up on a rice farm in Butte County, California. Mr. Helwer-Carlson currently works in Grower Relations for the North Coast Area and “Quinoa Specialist” for Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, California. Mr. Helwer-Carlson has extensive experience with major farms and transportation of agriculture. Mr. Helwer-Carlson has served on the board of directors for multiple agricultural organizations, including the following: The California Rice Research Board; BUCRA Seed Growers; California Akita Growers Association; and the Butte County Farm Bureau. Mr. Helwer-Carlson served in the United States Navy, including two trips to Vietnam.
Mr. Helwer-Carlson also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") as an Entomologist and Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer where he performed diagnostic insect and pest identification in support of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Inspection at their Truck inspection facilities on the Border with Canada in Blaine, Washington. There he worked with importers and exporters through their brokers to facilitate the expeditious movement of goods and materials. In his work with the USDA, Mr. Helwer-Carlson dealt with the various business entities that you find around a port of entry, such as import/export brokerage houses, logistics companies, freight forwarders, warehouses, cold storage facilities as well as the associated regulatory agencies such as CBP, USFWS, and FSIS, and those corresponding agencies from foreign countries.
Peter Oringer (age 73) was born in Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Invertebrate Marine Biology and obtained his Master's degree at Humboldt State University in 1972.
Mr. Oringer was one of the principal founders of Pacific Marine Engineering Inc. with several subsidiaries: Environmental Consultants; Commercial Diving; Pro Sports Center; and Pacific Outfitters.
Mr. Oringer is active in Humboldt Bay and Port issues. He has served on the revised Humboldt Bay Management Plan Committee for the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, as member of the Humboldt County Convention Visitors Bureau Board for over fourteen years; member of: the Arcata Chamber of Commerce; as a founder of the Timber Heritage Association, as founder and treasurer of the Land Bridge Alliance, and liaison from Land Bridge Alliance to the Upstate Rail Connect Committee. Mr. Oringer is President of the Bayside Community Hall previously called the Bayside Grange.
Mark McGowan (age 63) was born in San Francisco and moved to Humboldt county in 1974 to attend Humboldt State University. He completed a B.S. in Forestry in 1979 and then a Maters in Business Administration in 1985. He also competed in water polo and rowing while at HSU.
Mr. McGowan has spent his career in real estate and finance working for various companies spending his last 21 years as a self-employed mortgage broker in Humboldt County. Coached youth baseball, soccer and basketball serving on the board of Arcata Little League and as President of Arcata Babe Ruth. He is currently a director at New Heart Community Church in McKinleyville. Past president of the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka serving as its treasurer for 13 years. Treasurer for a number of other organizations and clubs including political campaigns. Serving as an assistant Scoutmaster he watched his son reach the rank of Eagle Scout.
He started his career as a timber cruiser and has seen, first hand, the steady decline of our forest products industry and its effects on our local economy. It is said that our greatest export is our children in search of a career to raise a family. The Humboldt Eastern Railroad and its associated projects can turn that trend around.