Masks are now optional on Portland Streetcar (and TriMet) due to a recent change in federal law, but the CDC does recommend continuing to mask up on transit. We know our riders have mixed feelings about the mandate ending. We ask everyone to be respectful of others as we all adjust to this change.
Multnomah County will be closing the Broadway Bridge to all traffic for maintenance work on Sunday, April 3, from 7:00 a.m. to as late as 7:00 p.m. Crews will be performing preventive maintenance, replacing signs, and repairing damaged areas of the deck and other structures.
Streetcar service across the bridge will be disrupted for the duration of the closure. A and B Loops will run across the Tilikum Crossing, turning back at NW 10th and Northrup on the west side and N Broadway and Ross on the east side.
TriMet's Line 17 bus will detour to the Steel Bridge during the closure.
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.
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.
"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, along with TriMet MAX and bus, will be free to ride after 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 31st, to celebrate New Year's Eve. TriMet MAX will run extended late-night service until 3:00 a.m., offering revelers additional safe options to get home.
Ride transit and don't bother tapping your Hop card--even when transferring. The evening's free rides are sponsored by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Portland Streetcar will run a Sunday schedule on Saturday, January 1, in observance of New Year's Day.
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
Travel safety tips from the Braille Institute:
- Stop your car at least 5ft. from a crosswalk. Pedestrians who are visually impaired or blind may use the sound of your engine to locate crosswalk boundaries. If any part of your car is in the crosswalk, they may misjudge the safe area.
- Avoid honking at individuals using a white cane. People who are blind or visually impaired have no idea why you are honking.
- It is okay to ask if assistance is needed. Ask the person who is blind or visually impaired for permission before trying to assist. If the person asks you to help guide them, offer your arm. They will hold your arm just above the elbow to follow your path.
We ask all Portlanders to join us in learning about orientation and mobility to help provide a safer Portland for our blind and visually impaired neighbors.
I-84 will close in both directions this weekend for the installation of the Blumenauer Bridge, a new biking and walking link between the Lloyd District and Central Eastside over the freeway. The closure will last from Friday night until Monday morning to install the bridge span. Streetcar service will be unaffected.
The new span will connect NE 7th Avenue across I-84 to provide a critical link in the central city's pedestrian network and a key component of the future Green Loop. It will provide safer, easier access to A and B Loop stops at Hoyt, Burnside, Oregon and Holladay, and easier access to destinations from those stops.
Better pedestrian infrastructure means a safer, more accessible streetcar network and we look forward to using this new span to better connect riders to jobs, errands and wherever they may need to go.
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.
Portland Streetcar will institute a seasonal schedule revision Monday, September 6. The new schedules can be found on this website, and real-time arrivals and trip planning can be found through the Umo app.
A Saturday schedule will be in effect on Monday, September 6, in observance of Labor Day.
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.
Multnomah County will close the Broadway Bridge between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. the weekend of July 10-11 for a structural inspection. This work will affect streetcar service over the bridge.
The A Loop will skip the stop at NW 9th and Lovejoy, continuing north on NW 10th to turn around and become a B Loop. Likewise, the B Loop will turn around at N Broadway and Ross to become an A Loop and continue on the east side.
For more information about the closure and structural inspection, click here.
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.
With record-high temperatures in Portland over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the Portland Streetcar closed Sunday afternoon and will remain closed until Tuesday morning when cooler air moves through the region.
Sagging overhead wires, power issues on the Broadway Bridge and a downed tree limb on the overhead wires downtown all led to delays, speed restrictions and other problems on the system. Rather than leave riders stranded while trying to travel, all streetcars were returned to the maintenance yard Sunday afternoon.
Crews will work through Monday to ensure power issues are resolved and service is ready to be restored when temperatures decrease through Tuesday morning.
TriMet's regional MAX light rail system also suspended service due to similar issues with overhead wires and extreme heat. MAX service is also expected to resume Tuesday morning. TriMet buses are still running and riders without fare will not be turned away during this extreme weather event.
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!"