Portland Streetcar is going beyond sponsoring the Portland Winter Light Festival this year by transforming into a rolling installation. Every Portland Streetcar will be adorned with LED illumination throughout regular transit service during the festival. This effort will help brighten the central city and provide a moving embodiment of the 2023 festival theme of STARS.
“We received such a glowing response from the community about our lit-up holiday streetcar that we decided to take it a step further,” said Dan Bower, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. “By putting LEDs on all our vehicles we can bring light and joy to the city during what can typically be Portland’s grayest time of year.”
Rides on the streetcar will be free after 5:00 p.m. February 3-11 for the festival, offering attendees an electrified, illuminated way to enjoy the exhibits.
“The Portland Streetcar has long been a participant in the Portland Winter Light Festival, providing convenient and easy transportation around the citywide event,” said Portland Winter Light Festival Executive Director Alisha Sullivan. “We are thrilled that the streetcars will be lit up with LEDs this year! The light festival would not be possible without community partners like Portland Streetcar coming up with creative ways to brighten and connect the community by enhancing the nighttime landscape of our city.”
The Portland Winter Light Festival is an annual event that began in 2016 to enrich the public realm through Artful Lighting. Portland Streetcar began service in 2001 and operates three transit lines through Portland’s central city on 100% renewable electricity.
Transit rides across the region will be free on Saturday, February 4, in honor of the birthday of civil rights leader Rosa Parks. Portland Streetcar, along with our partners at TriMet and C-TRAN, will not collect fares that day to celebrate Rosa Parks' iconic contributions to the civil rights movement. Riders will not have to tap Hop cards or purchase fares--just board and ride.
"Each person must live their life as a model for others." -Rosa Parks
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus and sat in the "colored" section to head home. As the bus filled up, the driver demanded that she move to the back to make room for white riders, enforcing a local ordinance. She refused, was arrested, and made civil rights history.
Need to tackle your last-minute holiday shopping? The Portland by Streetcar Tour App provides Streetcar riders with an interactive map of restaurants and service/retail shops located within a three-block radius of Portland Streetcar's three lines (A-Loop, B-Loop and NS Line) that are open for business during the holidays.
The listings may be viewed on a map or in an alphabetical list. Businesses may place and update listings for no cost by contacting us. The app is also “location aware,” which means that as a user rides on Streetcar with the app open, their screen will update on its own to show all relevant attractions around them, with a simple touch of the screen providing more detailed information.
A new art installation by Portland artist Tatyana Ostapenko graces Portland Streetcar’s Art on Board program, showcasing local artists' work on a rolling canvas through the central city. The vehicle wrap debuted on Thursday, December 8.
Born and raised in Ukraine, Ostapenko lives in Portland and paints around the Pacific Northwest.
"I was born and raised in Ukraine. My artwork directly focuses on historical atrocities in that part of the world, as perpetuated by the few who hold the power, against the many who suffer. My paintings are deeply rooted in the past and attempt to evoke moments that happen at the juncture of erased, imagined and personal histories.
I created the painting “I’ll Take You There” to celebrate the strength and resilience of Ukrainian people. It is my hope that seeing this image on the streets of Portland will continue to bring awareness and support for their ongoing fight for their lives and freedom."
Portland Streetcar is rolling out a gift-wrapped holiday streetcar, complete with lights and festive decor. While the lights will make the days bright, we're making the season more merry with a selfie giveaway! Prizes include Portland Streetcar swag bags and one lucky winner will get a free annual pass.
Here's how to win:
1. Find or ride the Holiday Streetcar (for those more familiar with our fleet, it's Car 021)
2. Snap a selfie onboard or near the streetcar
3. Post it on Twitter or Instagram and tag @pdxstreetcar
Winners will be selected at random and contacted at the beginning of the new year. Please be safe and aware of your surroundings when taking photos on or around the streetcar.
With the general election looming, all registered Oregonians should have already received a ballot. Ballots can be mailed without postage through November 8, but if you prefer to drop your ballot off there are several official Multnomah County drop boxes easily accessible by streetcar.
Multnomah County Duniway-Lovejoy Elections Building
1040 SE Morrison Street
Walk east up Belmont from the B Loop stop at SE Grand & Belmont.
Northwest Library -- Book Drop
2300 NW Thurman Street
Walk north on NW 23rd from the NS Line stop at 23rd & Marshall.
Central Library -- Book Drop
SW 11th Avenue at Taylor
Across the street from the stop at SW 11th & Taylor.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
700 block of SW Broadway
Walk east down Yamhill Street from the Central Library stop at SW 10th & Yamhill.
South side of the Rose Quarter near Rip City sign
Walk south through the Rose Quarter from the stop at N Broadway & Ross.
Ballots are due to drop boxes by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. Ballots postmarked by November 8 will also be counted.
Portland Streetcar was awarded an Alice Award by The Street Trust Saturday evening for its innovative Rider Ambassador program. Shared with community partners at OPAL, the award recognizes the program’s community outreach approach to riders experiencing homelessness or living with mental illness or addiction.
“We’re encouraged that our team is being recognized for taking a different approach,” said Dan Bower, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. “Instead of having security guards throwing people off a streetcar, we’ve worked hard to find a way that helps all riders maintain a safe, pleasant experience while serving some of our community’s most vulnerable people.”
Started in early 2022, the Rider Ambassador program provides a non-security presence onboard the streetcar working with more vulnerable riders to provide helpful items and connect them with social services. Rider Ambassadors carry backpacks containing bottled water, snack bars, dry socks, hygiene products, first aid kits, naloxone and other useful gear depending on weather and conditions.
Rider Ambassadors are trained in first aid, mental health first aid and other applicable disciplines as gaps are identified. The program comprises a team of six who work in pairs to ride the streetcar. Funded by a Federal Transit Administration demonstration and research grant for one year, the program is currently being evaluated for ongoing funding and potential expansion.
“We are a completely new approach to community safety on public transit, and approach that focuses on and prioritizes the needs of people first,” Rider Ambassador Josh Laurente told the crowd as he accepted the award. “When we go to work, we’re not armed with anything else than a backpack full of water, snacks, supplies and knowledge of the supportive services and resources available to people in our city, a helping hand and a desire to just be there for other people.”
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.
The Street Trust is a nonprofit organization that advocates for multimodal transportation options that prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate justice in the Portland Metro Region.
Celebrate the grand opening of TriMet's Frequent Express bus line, connecting Southeast Portland and Gresham along Division Street. Join TriMet in celebrating FX's debut at three festival locations, complete with food, activities, entertainment, and free FX rides!
Portland Streetcar will be free all day Saturday, September 17, to celebrate the new link in our regional transit network. A and B Loop streetcars will connect to the FX at OMSI/SE Water Avenue, where one of the three festivals will take place.
As a record-breaking heat wave scorched Portland in late July, Portland Streetcar's rider ambassadors took to the system to help riders stay cool. Over the prolonged period of extreme heat, teams handed out more than 600 bottles of cold water along with spray bottles, cooling towels and other items.
Rider ambassadors carried lists of cooling shelters and helped riders in need find resources to beat the heat, especially if they would otherwise be sleeping outside or without air conditioning.
The rider ambassador program began in January 2022 as a way to provide a non-security response to riders experiencing homelessness or struggling with mental health or addiction issues that might be using transit as a method of getting inside or off the sidewalk. By taking a community outreach approach, teams work to connect riders to applicable resources, offer supplies that might be useful and otherwise provide a friendly presence on the streetcar.
Portland's recent heat wave was yet another example of an extreme event in which having such personnel proved to be a lifeline for many of the community's most vulnerable and transit-dependent people.
Portland Streetcar's latest Art on Board installation, "The Watchers: Keep One Eye Open" by Habiba Abdul Rahim, is out on the rails around Portland's central city. This fifth vehicle-wrap installation celebrates the strength of a community through the actions of its members.
Art on Board is a program which showcases local artists’ work in public as the vehicles serve riders around Portland’s core. Highlighting Portland's diversity, artists of color have been paid to show their work on the vehicle exterior as a moving canvas celebrating our community.
When I first learned how to paint it was always with the idea that I wanted to create art that was in the image of people like me; African Americans are absent from historical art collections in some of the largest museums, galleries and major auctions and I knew that I wanted to use my gift to change that in whatever way that I could. As I began to share with people the how and why I began to paint, I soon began to realize the importance of connection and belonging. My art had become the vehicle through which we share life experiences and recognized similarities. It did not matter that the woman in the painting was Black, it was the story behind the painting, or the emotion it invoked, that was most important.
I create each painting with color in mind first; before I even know what the subject matter will be, I know what colors I want to use, and I allow the color choice to dictate the mood. In my most recent work I have been painting women on various shades of grey. The color grey for some can be unemotional and neutral; for me grey represents all the things that I want to be: peaceful, a soothing and nurturing presence, reliable, and wise. Grey for me represents a work in progress; accepting where I am while simultaneously creating who I want to become. Each piece is a search for meaning. They each are a reflection on the ideas of beauty, love, perfection, and growth.
"Keep one eye open" is an idiom that I grew up hearing elders say; it was a reminder to always remain vigilant and watchful. This piece is a reflection on the ways in which I can follow in the footsteps of the elders that I learned from; they were wise, nurtured, developed and guided, and anchored their families and community.
‘The Watchers: Keep One Eye Open’ is a series that calls us to reflect on the ways in which we can support, take control of, and build stronger communities. A communities greatness is determined by the actions of its members. My hope with this series is that we question whether or not we are individually creating meaningful change, are we inspiring others to create positive change, are we holding the right people accountable and if not, how do we do better.
Ready for March Madness men's basketball in Portland? Ride the streetcar A Loop from downtown to the Moda Center—and the B Loop back after the games. Games in Portland are scheduled for Thursday 3/17 and Saturday 3/19.
A purple vest and a backpack will be a new sight for regular streetcar riders. Newly-hired Rider Ambassadors are working aboard the streetcar to provide a non-security presence to help keep the system safe, supportive and comfortable.
Completing mental health outreach training and equipped with water, dry socks and other supplies, this team will respond to riders experiencing homelessness or struggling with mental illness or addiction.
“Providing more helping hands on the streetcar is a way we can help our neighbors in need while also keeping the streetcar safe and clean for all riders,” said Dan Bower, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar, Inc. “The Rider Ambassador program is an extra layer of community support, and the team can respond to situations where otherwise a security or police response would be called in.”
The one-year pilot program is funded by a research and demonstration grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The grant is also funding the transition from cloth upholstery to easy-to-clean vinyl seat covers and new rider information screens at key stops.
Portland Streetcar expects to collect data, stories and rider feedback about the program to evaluate its effectiveness at the end of the year. The team will be in addition to existing customer service representatives and PBOT’s fare officers.
Portland Streetcar's Art on Board program continues with a new installation this week, "River Sisters" by local artist Don Bailey. Art on Board began in late 2020 as a way to provide a rolling canvas to Portland artists on streetcar vehicles.
"The painting is based on a 19th century black and white photograph of three women filling their water buckets by a river. Beginning with the images of those women, I created an original, colorful, abstracted landscape and clothing for the younger two women, while keeping the third woman in the clothing of the original photograph. The fanciful, tapestry-like imagery and the love the women convey as they work in the shadow of both the river and their ancestor are intended to connect viewers to their home of origin and emphasize the role women play in giving sustenance to their family, nourishing their communities, and maintaining connections to their heritage."
About Don Bailey, in his own words:
In my native Hoopa language, kiwhliw means “he who paints.” First and foremost, I am a painter. I create complex, richly colorful compositions. I am also Native American, raised on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in Northern California.
As a young child I began drawing the stories I could see in my Hoopa Valley landscape and those told to me by my elders. When my family moved off the reservation and I first attended the white man’s school, I started to hear a new set of stories called American history. As a young man, I was drawn to a new set of stories that seemingly had no connection to my own – the stories told in the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon and Jackson Pollock.
I began painting and found in the process a way to weave together the stories of my homeland, the history others tell about my people, and the mystery I find in the work of artists who came before me. I often begin with an archival photograph. I layer in images of traditional native design and landscapes real and imagined. In doing so, I tell stories that shake up (mis)understandings of (indian) art and history.
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.
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
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.
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.
20-Year Streetcar Administrative Supervisor Carol Cooper:
Portland Streetcar is like a book of memories, each chapter with something new and exciting.
In 2001 while working in the yard as one of the many trailers of subcontractors, I was asked to apply for the office manager position in the Portland Streetcar office. I was intrigued, the idea of being part of the startup of a system that brought back streetcars to Portland was fascinating. Watching the Streetcars being assembled and finished was amazing and learning about the alignment a bit overwhelming.
At that time the building was mostly empty, the main office just vast open space. The thought of setting up and running the office was an exciting challenge and well worth it. As there weren’t many employees, we all worked as a team and shared in whatever work may have needed to be done. Numerous times we would find ourselves picking up trash from platforms, cleaning shelters, trains and the facility. One of my favorites--during heavy rains removing leaves from Marshall Street drains to keep water out of the shop. This was all while there were streetcars being delivered and tested, the Czech Technicians to learn new language from which made learning fare machine operations challenging, operators arriving daily, and many group and school tours to weave through.
The grand opening was exciting! I’ll never forget watching the streetcar come up Northrup Street surrounded by what looked like a carnival. The streetcars were so packed with people that the bridgeplates couldn’t be deployed. That day opened a new chapter: revenue service. It brought new things to learn, problems to solve, autos to tow and many customer calls with questions. "Why didn’t the streetcar swerve?" is still my favorite.
Since then chapters include: vintage trolleys, extensions, new streetcars, additional facilities, completing the loop, and many more fun and interesting people to work with. During all of this I was blessed with a family, streetcars included! Thank you to all the people who thought I could do the job and gave me the opportunity! It’s a little hard to believe that 20 years have passed.
Congratulations Portland Streetcar - all the best for many more years to come.
A new art installation by Portland artist Vincent Kukua continues Portland Streetcar’s Art on Board program, showcasing talented local creators on a rolling canvas through the central city. This third vehicle wrap joins previous installations by Edmund Holmes and Maria Regine.
Art on Board is a program which showcases local artists’ work in public as the vehicles serve riders around Portland’s core.
Vincent Kukua works in the Production Department of Oni Press/Lion Forge Entertainment by day, and is a freelance illustrator by night. Born in Honolulu, HI and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he carries with him to Portland the encouragement and support of a family steeped in the creative arts and his Hawaiian heritage. He has illustrated for local organizations such as APANO (The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon) and Prosper Portland as well as working on his own comics and drawings for various personal projects.
20-Year Streetcar Superintendent Dee Grice (in vest):
When I saw the job posting for Portland Streetcar Superintendent I was torn between my love of MAX and a new startup, Portland Streetcar. I had challenged myself by becoming a MAX operator, which I loved. Then I became a Controller followed by a Rail Supervisor. When TriMet started building the Hillsboro Line, I found that to be very exciting. I enjoyed the process of testing the tracks, making sure the trains fit into the platforms, tracking the pantographs on the overhead wires, making sure the crossing gates were timed properly, figuring out the Elmo Yard. So, when the opportunity came to apply for Streetcar Superintendent, it was not too difficult of a decision. It was a wonderful opportunity. The variety of it all was too good to let pass by.
In the very beginning, pre-startup, we staggered the arrival of superintendents and operators according to their seniority. Two superintendents, two mechanics and one operator were already here when I arrived. Outside of TriMet, there was a maintenance manager, an operations manager, an office manager, and the people of SKODA which included several vehicle technicians from the Czech Republic and the City of Portland which made this all happen. Shortly before startup, Lenore DeLuisa was hired on as an assistant manager of operations and soon took over as the operations manager.
The first and only, at the time, operator was used to burn in the cars, check for clearances in the shop and alignment, testing of the signals and pantograph tracking to name a few. The idea was to make sure everything was ready for the arrival of operators. This is where I was brought in to join the team.
First order of business was to figure out the streetcars and how to troubleshoot them. This was a lot of fun--no sarcasm. The Czech techs did not speak much English. They always tried to have at least one technician that spoke English decently. We did a lot of pointing, demoing, laughing, and miming. Think Charades. This was pre-startup so there was time to figure things out, and the Queen of Troubleshooting was born.
While learning the cars, we trained a few more operators so they could learn the cars and help with the burn in of the streetcars. We staggered the arrival of the operators for training timing this so all would be trained and ready for service on for the Grand Opening Day of July 20th.
Startup: thirteen operators, three superintendents, and two mechanics made up the original group from the TriMet side. The loop went from Northrup to the single-track turnaround to PSU Urban Plaza. It took an hour to do a full loop with a 15-minute recovery at Urban Plaza. Full service consisted of four streetcars.
The flex would offer each operator a full loop break. If short on operators, it was not unusual for a superintendent to go out to do a loop while waiting for another operator to come in, and, still run operations from the cab. However, this came to a stop when we found ourselves operating a train when an emergency came up. Can’t be in two places at the same time.
Because we were such a small group, I was more than happy to help wherever needed. When the tracks got slick, I would go out to remove leaves and clear track and street drains. When the water started to get deep and cover the tracks, we would head "upstream" towards Good Samaritan Hospital and start clearing track and street drains of all the leaves and debris so that they could keep up with the rainfall. I remember one year it was so bad that when I came to work and opened the shop, I could hear waterfalls! Every stairwell leading to the maintenance bay pits was like a fish ladder with water streaming down and filling up the pits.
After verifying that we were not going to be electrocuted, I started shipping operators out in service. The first operator tried to go out to the wash track and could not open the side door. Neither could I. I ran around the back door to the wash track and found the water was about track-high, a foot and a half deep against the building: yikes! We needed a train from the shop out and when the bay door was opened, a wall of water came rushing in adding to the waterfall. There was so much, the pits looked like a lap pool. Let me tell you, that was a real mess to clean up.
Another fun task Lenore (DeLuisa) and I would do was to pressure wash the platforms and paint over the graffiti. Whatever it took to keep service, we would spring into action and get it done. Since then, Streetcar has gone through multiple extensions taking us up to present day.