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!
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.
"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.
After a year of reduced service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland Streetcar is adding back more frequency with a new schedule that begins Sunday, March 7. Peak service hours will return to 15-minute headways on the NS Line, providing two additional streetcars in service to the four running over the past year.
Service on the A and B Loops will remain at 20-minute headways to ensure enough spare vehicles for reliable service throughout the day.
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."
The Federal Transit Administration announced this week the award of $440,000 to Portland Streetcar as part of the Public Transportation COVID-19 Research Demonstration Grant Program. Portland Streetcar and the Portland Bureau of Transportation submitted a proposal in Fall 2020 to fund measures to keep streetcars safer and provide better communication of public health guidelines to riders.
The proposal comprised three main elements:
Replace cloth seat covers with nonporous, easy-to-sanitize vinyl;
Install new, more variable message boards at streetcar stops to allow for more information to be communicated to riders; and
Hire additional staff trained in current public health guidance to ensure vehicles are properly sanitized and staff are adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Funding totaling $15.8 million was allocated to 37 projects across the country to support strategies that develop, deploy and demonstrate solutions that improve the operational efficiency of transit agencies and enhance rider mobility during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The federal award announcement comes as Oregonians await widespread rollout of COVID-19 vaccination and must remain vigilant in social distancing, wearing face coverings and otherwise working to prevent the spread of illness. Portland Streetcar riders are still required to wear masks on board and are asked to limit travel to only essential trips.
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.
As a sudden, severe wind event hit Portland on Labor Day, thousands of Portlanders lost power and tree limbs were torn down across the region. Portland Streetcar service was interrupted throughout the day by limbs down across our Overhead Catenary System--the wires that provide power to streetcars in service--but significant damage was sustained by the wires along Grand Avenue, completely shutting down the B Loop for two days.
Portland Streetcar maintenance crews worked tirelessly to repair damage, inspect the system and get the B Loop up and running again by Wednesday afternoon. Below are some photos of the repair effort.
Should the City extend Portland Streetcar or new transit in NW or NE Portland? What kind of new development do you envision in these places? Affordable Housing? Commercial and Retail? Industrial Uses? New Offices? Something else?
The Montgomery Park to Hollywood Transit and Land Use Development Strategy (MP2H) is considering equitable development plans for transit-oriented districts in NW Portland and NE Portland. The MP2H Urban Design Concepts provide information on possible land use Development Scenarios for the NW study area, and possible streetcar/transit Alignment Alternatives for the NE study area.
Help us shape the future of land use and transit that better serves these major destinations!
Virtual Open House – share your thoughts through August 9, 2020
Please visit the Urban Design Concept Virtual Open Houses during July to learn more, then tell us what you think by completing the Open House Survey! Click the links below to visit.
This Pride Month--and in conjunction with the celebration of Juneteenth--Portland Streetcar has added a Progress Pride Flag to Car 023 as a moving symbol of our commitment to inclusion and supporting both Portland's queer community and communities of color.
The flag, which sports the traditional six colors of the Pride Flag, was designed by Portland artist Daniel Quasar and adds a hoist of five half-sized stripes representing trans and non-binary individuals (light blue, light pink, white), marginalized POC communities (brown, black), as well as those living with AIDS and the stigma and prejudice surrounding them, and those who have been lost to the disease (black).
As a result of Governor Kate Brown's statewide "Stay Home, Save Lives" order issued Monday, March 23, Portland Streetcar will reduce regular weekday service to every 20 minutes between about 5:30 a.m. through about 11:30 p.m.
This change reflects a natural drop in ridership following guidelines around social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the adjusted schedule will allow us to provide adequate sick leave and protective measures for our operators, mechanics and other employees while ensuring reliable service without gaps in staffing.
We continue to ask that riders practice social distancing while riding, meaning providing at least six feet between riders at stops and on board. For continuing updates on Oregon's response to COVID-19, visit the Oregon Health Authority.