An Idaho columnist's labeling of Ogden's Union Station as a "Gothic horror" and the northern Utah community's 25th Street as "Skid Row" has city officials miffed.
They point out the station is Spanish colonial, not Gothic. And they wonder how the Idaho Statesman's Tim Woodward could miss the restaurants, antique shops, bars and hotels that dot downtown Ogden."I was incensed at the article," said Mayor Scott Sneddon. "It didn't portray the qualities that Ogden has to offer. It isn't our fault that he wasn't very observant when he came through town."
Woodward said he stands behind everything he wrote about Ogden in his March 14 column for the Boise newspaper.
"Mugging was on my mind when I walked to the station," he recalled. "It didn't look the most hospitable."
Woodward visited Ogden the afternoon and evening of March 7. He'd gotten off an Amtrak train in Salt Lake City that morning, had 21 hours to kill before his train to Boise left, and decided to take a bus to Ogden.
When the Weber County Library closed at 9 p.m., he said he had nowhere to go but the train station.
"A missile fired the length of Main Street would have hit no one . . . I trudged to Union Station, a dark, Gothic horror conveniently located at the foot of Skid Row," Woodward wrote.
The Amtrak waiting room inside Union Station was cold and with no facilities. When he called the police to go to their station and get warm, Woodward said, "They refused. Friendly town, Ogden."
Ogden Police Lt. Mike Empey said nobody is turned away from the city police station. It's a public building, open 24 hours.
But Empey said it's possible a caller might be told by a dispatcher that there are no facilities in the station lobby.