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.

A map of the I-84 closure for the placement of the Blumenauer Bridge.

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.

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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