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.
Former Mayor Charlie Hales (left), pictured here in 2001 with former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield:
After making the decision to proceed with the Portland Streetcar project, we had a challenge: buying the streetcars themselves. The only domestic manufacturers just made historic trolleys, not modern trams. For those we had to go abroad, so a trip to Europe was organized. Sounds exotic, but it was kind of a forced march, visiting six cities in six days in order to meet with manufacturers and actually ride the vehicles under consideration on the street somewhere.
We had a budget to buy three vehicles. That was a rounding error for most of the manufacturers, so just getting their attention was part of the challenge. At one point, our delegation was on a balcony looking out at the factory floor of Siemens’ plant, where they were fulfilling a $300 million order for a European customer. Laser-guided plasma torches and robotic welders were flashing and whirring as far as the eye could see. There we were, with our little checkbook, trying to order three streetcars.
This holiday weekend, ride free on Portland Streetcar, Max light rail or TriMet bus. As a partnership to encourage economic recovery, riders can shop, eat and explore without paying a fare Saturday through Monday!
Take transit and avoid the hassle of traffic and parking, wherever you go!
Wow, 20 years! How did I get here? While vacationing in New York City, I received a phone call from my friend, co-workers and now former streetcar operator Sharon Reddick, letting me know she was transferring to Portland Streetcar and I will be going with her. That is how my journey at Portland Streetcar started. I can't believe that we were making history by being the first modern day streetcar system in the country. We started with 5 streetcars and 13 operators, and have grown over the years to 17 streetcars and over 50 operators. We've had transit agencies from all over the country flock to Portland to learn how to get streetcar systems in their cities.
The most amazing thing to see was how neighborhoods changed around the streetcar and even more amazing, seeing neighborhoods created. I watched the Pearl District and South Waterfront neighborhoods being built, along with the Tilikum Crossing and Moody/Porter crossing. Things are still changing and new buildings are being built along the streetcar alignment. I wish that I had before and after pictures of the transformations.
The one thing that I look forward to while operating the streetcar is seeing the kids waving at the streetcar as it goes by. I always try to wave back and ring the bell or honk the horn. It really makes my day to see their faces when I respond to their waves. Before the pandemic changed the world, we had kids' packets to hand out to our little riders. I always made it a point to give the little ones a streetcar treat.
The Portland Streetcar is one of Portland's tourist attractions that gets tourists to other tourist attractions. Streetcar operators are ambassadors of the city, which is a great honor.
I've been with TriMet for 29 years and 20 of those years have been with Portland Streetcar. I'm now the senior operator, which carries a lot of clout (laughing out loud). It just means that I outlasted all the others (just joking).
It has been 20 years, I still enjoy coming to work. There is never a dull day, because there is always something going on. I have met some interesting people over the years and some have become great friends, fellow employees and passengers alike.
"I came to Portland Streetcar in June of 2001 as an operator. I was seven out of the original thirteen that came over for start-up. I decided after being here for a short time that being part of the Streetcar family was the best place to be as a TriMet employee. It was the best of bus and rail combined. I operated for 14 years and in that time I grew to know and love so many of our riders. Other operators would make fun of me because I knew so many people by name. It was a nice change from MAX; being able to greet our riders and get to know them. It was fun to allow kids to ring the bell when they were getting off the streetcar. I served as the Chairperson of the Safety Committee for ten years and was the first “Extra Superintendent.” In March 2015 I became a City of Portland employee as one of the Streetcar Operations Supervisors and have enjoyed my career here. There has been and continues to be an awesome work group and I truly am blessed to be part of this organization!"
The Portland Bureau of Transportation is now hiring a Field Maintenance Supervisor for Portland Streetcar. The Portland Streetcar Maintenance Supervisor is responsible for the day-to-day work assignments and supervision on maintenance and repairs of rolling stock (streetcars), Track (MOW), Signal control systems, and overhead contact wire (OCS). This is a unique opportunity as this position will not only be responsible for supervising the team but will work hands-on in the field with employees on techniques, standards, and safety procedures including troubleshooting maintenance issues.
What you’ll get to do:
Act as an equitable supervisor to streetcar technicians and utility workers including coaching, mentoring, imposing discipline as needed and general employee management
Track parts and labor in an asset management system and providing reports
Plan maintenance, repairs, and overhaul of equipment
Troubleshoot and diagnose equipment electrical and mechanical failures
Reviews technical documents such as plans & specifications
Respond to field emergencies and critical situations.
Make safety related decisions that have real impacts to service.
The Federal Transit Administration featured in an Earth Day video transit-oriented development (TOD) planning for the proposed Portland Streetcar extension to Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland. Funded by an FTA TOD planning grant awarded to Metro, Portland Streetcar and the City of Portland have worked to ensure any streetcar capital investments reflect equity, affordability and community benefits while connecting a rapidly-changing Northwest Portland with high-capacity, emission-free transit.
The video showcases ways in which transit planning can be an essential tool in combating the climate crisis, reducing congestion and ensuring clean air for generations to come.
A new art installation by Portland artist Maria Regine continues Portland Streetcar’s Art on Board program, showcasing talented local creators on a rolling canvas through the central city. The vehicle wrap joins a previous installation by Edmund Holmes last October.
Art on Board is a new program to showcase local artists’ work in public as the vehicles serve riders around Portland’s core. Prior to the program’s creation in 2020, the only prior vehicle wrap was a partnership with the Portland Trail Blazers to commemorate the team’s 50th season.
Born in the Philippines and raised in Hawai’i Maria is a multidisciplinary individual. A maker and lover of all things art + design equipped with technical knowledge and skills.
Maria is an advocate for underserved and underprivileged communities. One of Maria’s goals is to help create more equity for these communities. Particularly in the design and tech industries. Maria’s educational background is in marketing & management as well as interface design. Her previous experience include working at tech companies like Apple and Treehouse.
At her time at Apple she has worked on people operations, customer relationship management, and market recruiting. While at Treehouse Maria worked in operations supporting their former apprenticeship program. The program’s mission was to help diversify the tech industry using an apprenticeship framework that eventually placed individuals from underserved communities into high paying technical roles in companies such as Verizon, MailChimp, Vacasa, Toast, Nike, HubSpot, and more.
While working in the tech industry Maria has collaborated on many creative projects. From from print work with non-profit organizations like the Women’s Foundation of Oregon to digital illustrations and designs for Soulection.
"I moved from Hawai’i to Portland to “pursue my art” and at the time I didn’t exactly have a clear picture of what that would actually look at. I knew that I wanted to share my creations and experiences with others in hopes that it would resonate. It was a bit of a struggle and adjustment at first getting my footing. I didn’t know what a difference it would make going from an environment that is nothing short of a melting pot of cultures to a city where I am officially considered a minority. Art helped, and even more so, the community that I found helped me tremendously in so many ways. Without my people, my friends, I don’t know where I’d be now. I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to pursue my art as hard as I have without their support. The portraits and art I illustrated for this project is a huge thank you to some of the people that have inspired me in my course of being here. They’ve shown me the importance of community and that we are stronger and better together."
Portland Streetcar's tour app has a new feature, and it's helping riders support local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The "We're Open!" feature 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 these challenging economic times.
The listings may be viewed on a map or in an alphabetical list. Portland Streetcar and all businesses listed are following CDC guidelines, requiring masks and social distancing. The app will be updated as guidelines change. 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.
Portland Streetcar has wrapped one of its vehicles with art by local Black artist Edmund Holmes in an effort to showcase Black art and contribute to the national conversation about racial justice. The exterior wrap displays original work from Holmes’ “Black Shield: Love Over Hate and Equality” collection.
“As a community partner, we are thrilled to display local art that supports our racial justice mission,” said Portland Streetcar, Inc. Executive Director Dan Bower. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to partner with Edmund to make one of our vehicles a mobile art exhibit.”
Portland Streetcar has previously wrapped only one other vehicle, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team in the fall of 2019. The new vehicle wrap is intended to support Portland’s Black community and illustrate Portland Streetcar’s support for racial justice. A 2019 survey found that 32% of Portland Streetcar riders identify as non-white, compared with 23% of Portlanders as a whole.
Edmund "Mundo" Holmes born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and has now been a Portland, Oregon resident for ten years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Product Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. As a kid, Mundo dreamed about being an illustrator and designer, and explored both avenues for the majority early on. After interning at Nike, Edmund returned to Portland after graduating from CCS to attend Pensole Academy. Shortly after, he moved to Portland permanently to pursue a career in the footwear industry.
Designing footwear for Jordan Brand Training & Lifestyle, Nike Golf, Nike Baseball and currently Nike Training, and staying actively embedded in the art world is what continues to feed Mundo’s creative and cognitive passions. When he’s not creating, he also curates artistic experiences and activations with his group Aesthete Society. Beyond the traditional canvas, his art has translated to footwear, apparel, stickers, buildings, interactive experiences and transportation.
Mundo’s drive was instilled in him early in life by his parents, who taught him and his four brothers the importance of hard work, education, hustle, presentation, and perseverance. These core values ring true with him as north stars for life in his day to day. As art and illustration captured his imagination early in his life, Mundo explored his talents by drawing everything that he saw or loved: Garfield, Ninja Turtles, and Looney Toons characters. He also explored other creative outlets such as dance, graffiti, sculpture and sports.
Mundo's current works command attention for their subject matter, as his pieces speak through the lens of representation, empowerment and life as a Black person. Bold colors, textures, dimensions and blend to create his signature jazz, funk, graffiti inspired style. His hope is that his works evoke fun feelings of self-expression, but with a message to the world about who he is, where he stands and his thoughts on society. Mundo focuses on finding happiness, positivity and new ways to package messages to open eyes, minds, and hearts to balance the often heavy topics his subjects often handle. His aim is to leave his audience inspired, encouraging them to reflect on what they have learned from his work and how they feel after digesting his art. Mundo primarily works in acrylics, digital and ink. He also stretches his imagination by trying new mediums such as clay, collage, pencil, and mixed media.
"Black Shield: Love Over Hate and Equality" are part of a new collection that I have been developing to address the way Black people have to show up to the world: protected. Protected from the hate, unfair treatment, injustices, stereotypes and systems in place, which exist and Black people are forced to overcome. The characters are surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes and vibrant colors.
“The Black Shield: Love Over Hate” is created to protect against all of the negativity and hate towards Black people. The color is bright to represent our energy, which we projected to be seen as equals to others, and treated with respect. The character is holding the heart to express love, positivity and encouragement, while the angry / hate / negative face is falling down because this way of life will not be tolerated.
"Black Shield: Equality" is part of a new collection of characters that I have been developing to address the way Black people have to show up to the world: protected. Protected from the hate, unfair treatment, injustices, stereotypes and systemic issues that exist which Black people are forced to overcome. The characters are surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes and with pallets of black and white. The Black Shield is surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes to absorb all of the negativity and hate towards Black people. Black and white represent all the known and unknown rules that need to be reevaluated. The Black Shield holds money, a gavel, a pencil, a house, and a heart. This symbolizes that equality is desired and deserved by all no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, economic or social status. The system needs to be rewritten so that laws apply to everyone, and that everyone is treated equally.