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.

For more information on the new service and Saturday's celebration, visit the TriMet FX website.

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.

Habiba Abdul Rahim’s work can be found on Facebook and Instagram.


Artist Biography

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.

Artwork Statement

"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.

May we all be Watchers over our communities.


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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.

Check our website for schedules or download the Umo app for real-time arrivals information.

Plan ahead to pay your fare with the Hop Fastpass—available digitally on Google Pay or Apple Wallet.

Enjoy your stay and have fun taking in everything Rip City has to offer!

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.

Artist's Statement:

"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.


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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.

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.


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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’s work can be found on his website and Instagram.

Artist biography:

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.

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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!


20-Year Streetcar Operator Vern Goudy:

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.

Operations Supervisor Laurel Motley:

"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!"

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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.

For more information and to apply, click here.

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.