The Red Electric Wreck
Have you ever wondered about that wide strip of land to the East of Bertha Boulevard, between Bertha and the rear fences of the houses on SW 15th Ave.? Bertha Boulevard was part of the route of the Oregon and Central Railroad (later the Southern Pacific) constructed in 1872. The strip was a siding where one train would pull off to let another pass. On May 9, 1920, Southern Pacific Red Electric train 124, inbound to Portland from Hillsboro, did not pull onto the siding, but kept on the mainline at full speed. At 10:23 AM it crashed head on into Southern Pacific Red Electric train 107 from Portland, just as that train was rounding the curve. The trains collided about where SW Chestnut is now.
Looking east across what is now Stephens Creek Natural Area. The footbridge intersects the west side of Bertha about where SW Chestnut intersects the east side today.