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Engineer is injured in derailment of 15 cars along Highway 99E between Canby and Oregon City

COURTESY PHOTO: CCSO - Crews responded to the incident and found no hazardous materials were involved.

A train derailed just north of Canby at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6.

In total, 15 of the train's cars left the tracks between Canby and Oregon City along Highway 99E near South End Road, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. Canby Fire Division Chief Matt English, who was at the scene, said he had not seen a derailment that large in this area before.

COURTESY PHOTO: CCSO - Remnants of a derailed train north of Canby are pictured in the middle of the night Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The train engineer complained of pain afterward, but no one else was injured, police said.

Initial investigation revealed that the derailment likely occurred at the bridge over Parrott Creek, per the sheriff's office.

"The speculation that I heard was that there may have been a tree across the rail line, but that's only speculation at this point," English said.

Union Pacific Railroad Police and the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct the full investigation.

COURTESY PHOTO: CCSO - In total, 15 rail cars left the tracks in the incident Wednesday, Jan. 6.

None of the debris or rail cars blocked the highway, and no hazardous materials were involved, which is fortunate as contamination could have caused a slew of problems, including potential evacuations, according to English.

"We avoided any waterway contamination issues, and we don't have any ground contamination issues or any hazardous material issues right now because the majority of the spill was basically just cut lumber," English said.

The highway was closed until about 3 a.m., and one southbound lane remained closed as crews continued to work along the highway. The lane will remain closed for 24 to 48 hours, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Police are encouraging people to use caution if driving in the area.

COURTESY PHOTO: CCSO - The train was derailed along Highway 99E between Canby and Oregon City near South End Road.

Police said heavy equipment will be needed, and clean-up will take time.

"It was actually really impressive to see how much equipment was already down there this morning at about 8," English said. "They (Union Pacific) do this in other areas obviously when it happens, and they're used to being able to mitigate something like this. So, they already have a lot of heavy equipment down there doing all the heavy lifting and moving."

Agencies that responded to the incident included CCSO, ODOT, Canby Fire, Canby Police, Clackamas Fire, Oregon City Police, Oregon State Police, Union Pacific Railroad Police and Portland General Electric.

This story has been updated.

Kristen Wohlers
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