Portland Streetcar and commerce platform Shopify are teaming up to promote local businesses during the holiday season. With weekend free rides and an app-based guidebook for local businesses along the streetcar system, Portlanders can support the local economy and get holiday shopping done easily.

After a difficult 2020 holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland’s retailers are ready to showcase their products and invite shoppers to support the local economy.

“Local businesses are the heartbeat of Portland and we want to support them through their busiest selling season and beyond,” said Matthew Nelson, Head of Marketing for North America, Revenue at Shopify. “We’re excited to collaborate with the Portland Streetcar to make it as convenient as possible for shoppers to visit and support the incredible businesses that make Portland so unique.”

The partnership extends through December 25:

  • Shopify will sponsor two weekends of free rides on November 27-28 and December 4-5 to encourage use of transit for holiday shopping.
  • A promotional image will adorn one streetcar vehicle and signage about the promotion will be posted at 30 streetcar stops.
  • The Portland Streetcar Tour App will permanently be reworked to showcase local businesses along the streetcar alignment.

“Our sponsorship program has worked for years to support local businesses in the central city,” said Dan Bower, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. “We’re excited to expand that work with Shopify’s support this holiday season as our community recovers from the economic hardships of the pandemic.”

Portland Streetcar began service in 2001 through Portland’s central city and runs on 100% renewable electricity. The system serves thousands of riders per day with accessible, frequent transit.

About Shopify

Shopify is a leading provider of essential internet infrastructure for commerce, offering trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size. Shopify makes commerce better for everyone with a platform and services that are engineered for reliability, while delivering a better shopping experience for consumers everywhere. Proudly founded in Ottawa, Shopify powers over 1.7 million businesses in more than 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Allbirds, Gymshark, Heinz, Staples Canada, and many more. For more information, visit www.shopify.com.

October 15 is National White Cane Safety Day, celebrating the achievements of blind and visually impaired people while reminding others that the white cane is an important tool to help blind people travel independently.

Portland Streetcar is committed to providing safe, accessible public transportation for all, and we work to accommodate blind and visually impaired riders through audio stop announcements, tactile pavement treatments at platforms and Braille onboard signage.

The White Cane Law for motorists reads:

“A totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a predominately white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog, shall have the right-of-way. The driver of any vehicle approaching this pedestrian, who fails to yield the right-of-way, or to take all responsibility necessary precautions to avoid injury to this blind pedestrian, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both. This section shall not preclude prosecution under any other applicable provision of law.” – Vehicle Code #21963

Travel safety tips from the Braille Institute:

  • Stop your car at least 5ft. from a crosswalk. Pedestrians who are visually impaired or blind may use the sound of your engine to locate crosswalk boundaries. If any part of your car is in the crosswalk, they may misjudge the safe area.
  • Avoid honking at individuals using a white cane. People who are blind or visually impaired have no idea why you are honking.
  • It is okay to ask if assistance is needed. Ask the person who is blind or visually impaired for permission before trying to assist. If the person asks you to help guide them, offer your arm. They will hold your arm just above the elbow to follow your path.

We ask all Portlanders to join us in learning about orientation and mobility to help provide a safer Portland for our blind and visually impaired neighbors.

I-84 will close in both directions this weekend for the installation of the Blumenauer Bridge, a new biking and walking link between the Lloyd District and Central Eastside over the freeway. The closure will last from Friday night until Monday morning to install the bridge span. Streetcar service will be unaffected.

A map of the I-84 closure for the placement of the Blumenauer Bridge.

The new span will connect NE 7th Avenue across I-84 to provide a critical link in the central city's pedestrian network and a key component of the future Green Loop. It will provide safer, easier access to A and B Loop stops at Hoyt, Burnside, Oregon and Holladay, and easier access to destinations from those stops.

Better pedestrian infrastructure means a safer, more accessible streetcar network and we look forward to using this new span to better connect riders to jobs, errands and wherever they may need to go.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Applications now due by end of day Friday, November 30.

Portland Streetcar is hiring up to four Rider Ambassadors to ensure that all riders--especially the community's most vulnerable--have a positive and safe experience on board.

Overall, the Rider Ambassador is the face of transit and should warmly welcome riders while promoting the importance of transit, increasing a sense of safety and community, and assisting wherever needed. The Rider Ambassador serves alongside Portland Streetcar Customer Service Representatives and PBOT Security Officers to ensure all riders are able to travel safely and with the support they require.

The Rider Ambassador also understands that transit plays a key role in reducing rides taken through other modes of transportation that are more harmful to the environment, such as single-occupancy vehicles, and will help create a welcoming atmosphere that will increase ridership. The Rider Ambassador will be offered ongoing training and professional development as available to better serve riders and the Portland community.

For qualifications and information on how to apply, click here.


Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for employment at Portland Streetcar, Inc.