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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

In brief: BNSF rail traffic resumes after slide cleared

BONNERS FERRY – A rock slide that closed a main BNSF Railway connection between Washington and Idaho has been cleared.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said dozers and loaders were able to clear the line, and the railway reopened about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The slide 14 miles east of Bonners Ferry covered the tracks about 12:30 p.m. Friday. Melonas said the slide was 20 feet deep, 50 feet wide and 200 feet long.

Amtrak passenger trains running from Seattle and Portland to Chicago were halted for 48 hours. Freight traffic was also temporarily suspended.

Melonas said the Amtrak trains would not be allowed through until 12:30 p.m. today for safety reasons. Freight traffic had resumed.

Investor: Reduce tax on Flathead property

HELENA – A California real estate investor wants the state of Montana to lower his property tax bill by reducing the assessed value of a home he built on an island in Flathead Lake from $41.8 million to $9.8 million.

The Tax Appeal Board heard arguments last week in the appeal filed by Don Abbey, of La Mirada, California, Lee Newspapers of Montana reported.

Abbey built the 24,000-square-foot home on Shelter Island in 2011. The home, guesthouse and boathouse on 24 acres now are listed for sale at $59.5 million.

According to the state, the buildings are worth $41.8 million. That valuation would put the annual property taxes at $367,700.

According to an appraiser hired by Abbey, the buildings should be valued at the lower amount because the house was “overbuilt” in a way that might not add value from a buyer’s standpoint.

Abbey has been paying taxes under protest since 2012.

Abbey argued appraisers for the state overvalued the property because they compared it to similar properties outside the state, but they did not lower the value after taking into account the property is in Montana.

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