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Yesterday, Amtrak hosted its 10th "Civic Conversation" on rail depot redevelopment and restoration in Portland, Ore.The one-day conference is part of Amtrak's efforts to assist communities seeking ways to build, improve, redevelop or restore stations to support a growing demand for passenger-rail service. Since 2007, about 130 Amtrak-served communities have participated in the events, Amtrak officials said in a press release.Yesterday's event focused on the Empire Builder, Coast Starlight and Cascade routes to include Amtrak-served communities in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and northern California. Attendees viewed case studies and presentations of transportation-oriented development and funding sources, as well as information on requirements and best practices to ensure stations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.Improving stations is vital to the continued interest and growth of passenger rail, Amtrak officials said.Also yesterday, a private Amtrak train carried the remains of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) from a station in Seacaucus, N.J., to Washington, D.C.A longtime rider of Amtrak trains and defender of intercity passenger rail, Lautenberg died Monday of viral pneumonia. He was 89.Following Lautenberg's funeral held yesterday in New York City, Amtrak Chairman Tony Coscia and President Joseph Boardman issued this statement:"During [Lautenberg's] long career, he championed many causes and provided essential leadership to improve the country's transportation infrastructure in order to advance economic growth, increase mobility and connect the nation. In his eyes, passenger rail was equally important as all other modes of transportation."He was a true friend of Amtrak who deeply believed in the national mission of America's Railroad and in the people who do every facet of work to make this railroad run. Time and time again, he fought for and delivered what was needed to grow the Amtrak national network, particular for the Northeast Corridor, which runs through his beloved New Jersey."
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