New data released Tuesday shows that the early vision for a streetcar system that spurs housing development and improves transit access is generating results.  Conducted by EcoNorthwest, the data analysis shows that 3,130 new multifamily housing units were built along the Streetcar corridor in 2016, the most in the system’s 16-year history. Another 5,600 units are currently planned or under construction.  

“It seems simple, but Portland Streetcar is successful because it connects where people live with where they need to go every day,” said Portland Streetcar Executive Director Dan Bower. “And as the streetcar has expanded, it’s become a magnet for new housing.  

The link between the Streetcar and housing isn’t an accident—when the route was first drawn in the mid-90s, city leaders and planners envisioned the streetcar running through neighborhoods that filled with housing and where people could get to school, work, or the grocery store without driving across town.

Portland’s housing growth is happening along the streetcar route  

Since Portland Streetcar opened in 2001, nearly half of all multifamily housing built in Portland has been located within ¼ mile of the Streetcar route. As housing construction in the city has exploded in the past couple years, even more new of the city’s new housing is being concentrated in the Streetcar corridor. In 2016, 54 percent of new multifamily units were built along the Streetcar route. Over the past 16 years, streetcar ridership has grown steadily along with housing construction, with over 15,000 riders per day and 4.7 million total riders last year.

The link between the Streetcar and housing construction extends to affordable housing. Over one-third of all regulated affordable housing units in Portland are located along the Streetcar corridor and another 645 regulated affordable housing units are currently planned or under construction on the alignment.

A one-page summary of the housing data is available for download.

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The 8th Streetcar Mobile Music Fest is next Saturday, October 7, 2017.  Beginning at 4:00pm, every NS Line streetcar between the Portland State University Plaza and NW 23rd & Marshall will have live music on board.  For the price of your Streetcar fare, enjoy performances from returning favorites and new acts.  Below is the lineup including start time at PSU.  We hope to see you rocking while you roll!

Join us for this rocking event and post your photos and videos online using #SMMF2017

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Do you like to hunt for things? Are you feeling adventurous? Do you like to win prizes? Come join us as we collaborate with The Growler Guys - South Waterfront for our 2nd Scavenger Hunt Saturday, September 16, from 11- 3. A fun event for friends and family! Start at the South Waterfront Growler Guys, board the Portland Streetcar with your complimentary all day pass. There will be clues along the way. Just post to Instagram to receive your next clue. If you are unable to post to Instagram, not a problem!

The ’Hunt’ goes from the Bond/Lane Streetcar stop up to NW 23rd and back to The Growler Guys. It starts at 11 and goes until 3 however you probably want to start between 11 and 12:30 to make sure you are back by 3:00 to be entered into the drawing for some amazing prizes! Plus each team will receive one 32 ounce growler. It is not a race so enjoy your all day pass on Streetcar and feel free to tool around the city for a bit.

Register for the event online.

Explore what's out there just "Off the Rails".

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Join us as we celebrate First Thursday and enjoy eats, drinks, and art from Portland Streetcar employees.  While perusing the art, be sure to enter the drawing for a framed photo from Rip City Photography and tickets to a performance of "Fun Home" at Portland Center Stage

Date: Thursday, September 7, 2017

Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm

Where: Portland Streetcar Customer Service Office, 1031 NW 11th Avenue

Sample photo from Rip City Photography
Sample photo from Rip City Photography


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Field Trips & Streetcar: One Teacher's Story

Since 2015 when Next Adventure generously stepped forward to sponsor field trips, approximately 5,000 students and chaperones have ridden Portland Streetcar for free. With the start of a new school year, we wanted to highlight how this community-focused program impacts our city’s students and their teachers, so we reached out to Lisa Colombo, a 6th grade teacher at Southwest Charter School (changing its name to Cottonwood School of Civics and Science) who is one of many teachers who have made use of the School Field Trip sponsorship.

Tell us about your teaching career. How long have you been with Southwest Charter School? What do you teach there? 
I started working at SW Charter in 2007 when it first opened. I came from the informal education world -- science museums mostly -- and was drawn to this model of place-based education. I love working here because of the flexibility, community and trust. I feel very lucky that I get to explore the world right along with my 6th graders, guiding them to become involved citizens in their communities and to really care about the place they live. In 6th grade, we explore the chemistry of food, the human body through a simulation of medical school and the civil rights movement with a focus on local Portland history through a social justice lens.  

What do you find most rewarding about teaching? 
The most rewarding part of teaching is the connections I make with people. It is so fulfilling to get to know my students as people, their hopes and dreams and to help them grow into themselves. I also get to develop real friendships with their families. I am kind of an extrovert so being around people is super rewarding.  

What do you like about field trips? What is a challenge?  
Getting out into the community is a huge focus at our school and only few locations are within walking distance. We are lucky we have a streetcar stop only one block from our school. We use public transportation for most of our trips, only relying on parent drivers for the youngest students and for extended trips because so many parents work and have limited flexibility during the day. Our students are well versed in how to get around using public transportation and we often get compliments from other riders. The best part is seeing how much learning happens outside of the classroom and giving students an authentic reason to do work.  

How do field trips fit into the experiential learning that is so integral to the curriculum of Southwest Charter?  
We do make a distinction between field trips and field work. Field trips tend to be more geared towards enrichment and may be a one-time experience, like going to see a play at Northwest Children’s Theater or exploring the Portland Art Museum. Field work is about going to a place multiple times to collect data or perform a service or research.  Each classroom has a special place they have adopted and visit many times over the year to practice stewardship with Portland Parks and Recreation and Tryon Creek. We also connect with local organizations like Oregon Food Bank and Zenger Farms for service learning and many classrooms make monthly visits to the library for research. Visiting and making a connection to these places and people is a crucial element to our mission of place-based education. Students would not care as deeply about these places without spending time there and learning how to interact with integrity and curiosity.  

Is there anything you would like to tell Next Adventure about their sponsorship of Streetcar rides?
Next Adventure is a model of civic engagement and they are so supportive of not only our school but the health and wellbeing of all our citizens. By allowing all students to ride the streetcar for free, they are empowering them to develop deeper connections to this area. Thank you so much for all your support!!  

Could you share any specific anecdotes about your students taking Streetcar?  
One year, I had a group of students who were very aware of others and super compassionate. They would go out of their way to offer their seats to people. It was a badge of honor if they could give their seats up and after one trip to the library, one student ran up to me and shared, “We set a new record!” They had been keeping track of how many times they had done it and were so proud!  

Another favorite memory is when our trips happen to line up with other classes. Our 6th graders were coming back from the Northwest Children’s Theater last year and when our streetcar arrived, we ran into our 7th & 8th graders! All the kids happily compared their stories as we traveled back to school together. Impromptu community building!