2015 Summer Events Guide: Keeping cool along (and in) the Willamette

Summer might be the Northwest’s best-kept secret. In this series, we’ll share our top recommendations for events and activities that you won’t need a car to enjoy.

Oregon Brewers Festival

July 22–26 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park

obf
Photo: Oregon Brewer’s Festival

For five days in July, revelers on the waterfront will soak up the sun — and some of the world’s best craft beer. This festival is the biggest and oldest celebration of our “Brewvana” heritage, with 90 brewers pouring their award-winning wares. And with live music, on-site restaurants and a root beer soda garden, there’s more to do than sample suds.

With an expected crowd of 85,000 over the long weekend, parking will be scarce. Add to that an afternoon of drinking, and leaving the keys at home is the way to go. We’ve got plenty of bus service and MAX stations just a token’s toss away from the festival grounds.

Fun fact: When the festival started in 1988, only four microbreweries existed in Portland (BridgePort, McMenamins, Portland and Widmer); now you might find that many in your neighborhood.

Head out (and don’t forget sunscreen) »

The Big Float

July 26 between Poet’s Beach and Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Do you really need encouragement to hop in the river on a Sunday in July?

Start at the Tom McCall Bowl (the waterfront just south of the Hawthorne Bridge) and join the parade marching a half mile down to Poet’s Beach, floatation device in hand. Hop in and float back to the park, where the beach party will be in full swing, including a band barge, two giant slip-n-slides, food carts, a beer garden and kids’ activity area.

But there’s more to this one than a giant party on the river. It’s about awareness: the Willamette River, once the site of dozens of sewage overflows each year, has been deemed safe for summer recreation — including swimming — since 2011, when the Big Pipe project was completed. Now, even sensitive groups like children and pregnant women can enjoy the river without risking their health.

Grab your floaties and hop aboard »

Red Bull Flugtag

August 1 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park

flugtag
Photo: Red Bull Flugtag

It’s a bit of a stretch to call this event on the river flugtag, which means “flying day” in German. Maybe it’s that “plummeting day” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

This celebration of human-powered flight will see 20 local teams launch themselves off a flight deck 28 feet above the Willamette. Will they plunge or will they soar? With team names like Soarin’ Sasquatch, PDX Flying Carpets and Flutter Punks, the answer is probably something in between.

In case you missed it, this is what happened last time Flugtag came to town:

Grab a good seat early »

Our 2015 Summer Events Guide continues soon with Street Fairs and more!
Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Do unto others: Selfless bus operator wins TriMet honor

It’s easy to see why TriMet bus operator Catherine McLendon is a customer-service pro. Her mantra: “How would I want to be treated?”

“It’s like that girl with the coffee who just got on the bus thanking me with her eyes for waiting for her,” says McLendon, who recently won our 2015 Operator of the Year award among part-time drivers.

CatherineMcLendon-MiniRun

McLendon, raised in Portland and now a Beaverton resident, today is on Line 56—a loop that runs from downtown Portland to Washington Square Mall. She greets riders with a friendly hello.

Before signing up for her current route, she had driven Lines 45 and 92. She especially connected with folks on the 92, which originates in Southwest Portland and heads toward Murray Road and Scholls Ferry Road in Beaverton.

“They’re fun, they joke around. It just feels like family to me,” McLendon says. “The last day I said goodbye, I started crying. I had bad allergies that day, so I blamed it on that. But literally my sunglasses were all steamed up.”

Family affair

Early in her career, McLendon worked in the food-brokerage industry and didn’t want to spend her career in a desk job. Her stepdad, Wayne Reynolds, also operated a TriMet bus for 21 years and knew she was a good driver. In 1994, he encouraged her to apply. She soon began driving a bus. She appreciates how TriMet has offered her stability, the choice to stay part-time, great benefits and the chance to expand her career.

Her husband, Martin, also is a TriMet bus operator. They had already known each other at work when one day he graciously cleaned her bus mirrors during a break. That good deed has led to a lifelong partnership.

Familiar territory

McLendon enjoys seeing the same faces on her Beaverton routes.

“You get to know how they’re doing, where they’re going, what their dog’s name is,” she says.

She makes a point to wave at cars when she’s leaving a stop, thank people and drive courteously. And if there’s an accident, she knows the back roads.

It’s no surprise she’s won 16 Safe Driving Awards and four Ace awards for helping Honored Citizen riders. McLendon even remains pen pals with several honored-citizen riders she’s met over the years.

Giving back

McLendon prefers the 30-hour per week part-time position because she’s able to volunteer with organizations like the SMART reading program and the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project. An incident from a few years ago also has motivated her to get her First Aid and CPR certifications.

So, what happened? She was operating Line 92 and stopped to wait for a man running toward her. He then collided with a pillar and collapsed in front of the bus. McLendon jumped out of her seat and realized he was having a heart attack. One of the passengers knew CPR and kept him breathing until an ambulance arrived.

A few months later, she saw the man at the same stop.

“I got on the microphone and said, ‘Don’t look now, but you won’t believe who’s at the bus stop.’ Once he gets on, everyone starts clapping. Tears are just popping out of my eyes because I’m so joyful he’s vertical.”

In bloom

Outside of TriMet, she gardens, spends time with her three college-aged children and cruises around with Martin on his Vespa. Her part-time status also allows her to run a flower business, Flowers by Cat. A florist since 1987, she used to have a booth at Portland Saturday Market. She now spends many summer weekends on the wedding circuit and says “peonies are the hot flower right now.”

Whether selling flowers, volunteering, or safely driving a bus, it’s a sure bet she’ll treat people well.

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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2015 Summer Events Guide: Outside Portland

Summer might be the Northwest’s best-kept secret. In this series, we’ll share our top recommendations for events and activities that you won’t need a car to enjoy.

Oregon International Air Show

July 17–19 at Hillsboro Airport

For the first time in eight years, the Blue Angels will grace the West Coast’s biggest air show. Which means you’ll see something like this:

Video from the Slot position during the Diamond Half Squirrel Cage maneuver on take-off. Like the video??? Please share and like the page!

Posted by U.S. Navy Blue Angels on Saturday, June 6, 2015

(but from a more comfortable distance)

One Blue Angels member that isn’t an F/A-18 Hornet will get its own show, as “Fat Albert,” the team’s support C-130T Hercules, demonstrates surprising agility in a solo performance. Plenty of other aircraft will be on static display, in addition to 20 aerial exhibitions scheduled across the weekend. Be sure to check the schedule before you go!

Get there on transit »

(Bringing your bike? Free parking is available on-site!)

First City Celebration

July 25 in Downtown Oregon City

beer-garden
Photo: Downtown Oregon City

As its name implies, Oregon City was the first city in the Oregon Territory, established in the mid-1800s. This year’s First City Celebration is centered around Marketplace Oregon City, which features more than 80 local artists and merchants, but there’s a lot more to it:

  • Seven live music acts throughout the day
  • Craft beer and wine garden featuring local brews, wine and spirits
  • Kids’ Activity Zone
  • History actors and period music in the Heritage Village
  • Food carts
  • And, most awesomely: an Oregon Trail Game-themed 5K fun run — yes, it’s based on the classic 1980s computer game — in which participants make decisions like whether to ford a river or go hunting, all to avoid a terrible fate like death by dysentery.

Take the bus »

Washington County Fair

July 30–Aug. 2 at the Washington County Fair Complex

Photo: Washington County Fair
Photo: Washington County Fair

County fairs exemplify summer, and this one’s been around over 150 years. And while you can still buy livestock at auction or get tips from a master gardener, these days you can also try 30 different midway rides and catch a Flo-Rida concert. So it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone.

It’s already convenient to get to the fair grounds on transit, but a free shuttle from the Fairplex MAX Station to the gates makes hopping on the Blue Line an easy choice — unlike whether to ride The Zillerator or The Freak Out first, or which food you’d like deep-fried from the concession stand.

Take the MAX Blue Line »

Flicks by the Fountain

Every Friday in August at Beaverton City Park

flicks (1 of 1)

This year’s movie lineup is flawless — and that includes the foreign film you may not have heard about, Song of the Sea, which received a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • Aug. 7 – Big Hero 6
  • Aug. 14 – Song of the Sea
  • Aug. 21 – Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Aug. 28 – Jurassic Park

Each movie begins at dusk, so check this handy page and get there early, just in case.

Get there on transit »

Our 2015 Summer Events Guide continues soon with Waterfront Activities, Street Fairs and more!
Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Buses keep getting cooler

And we mean that literally.

If you think the heat wave we endured over the last couple weeks felt epic — well, you’re not wrong. It was our second-hottest stretch on record, and it made going about our business both difficult and uncomfortable to some degree. We reached the point where air conditioning becomes essential — especially when we’re on the move.

But for bus riders, getting a ride with A/C hasn’t always been a guarantee. That’s why, over the last four years, we’ve put 249 new buses into service as part of an accelerated bus-replacement program. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, we suspended our regular bus purchases; since then we’ve redoubled our efforts to return the fleet to an average age of eight years (the industry standard).

Today, we have more vehicles with amenities like:

  • low floors
  • air conditioning
  • better lighting, inside and out
  • larger windows
  • easy-to-clean vinyl seats

See the full list of features on our new buses »

At the moment, there are only nine buses in the fleet — about 1.5 percent — that aren’t equipped with air conditioning. By next summer, the delivery of 77 new buses will complete our replacement program, and you can rest assured that the next bus you catch will be cool.

New bus, anyone? 🚌🚌🚌🚌 #3400series #TriMet

A photo posted by TriMet (@ridetrimet) on

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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A pioneering connection between Tualatin and Sherwood

Tualatin and Sherwood are five miles apart, but they’ve never had a direct transit connection.

This gives us extra cause to celebrate last week’s announcement of a new bus line between the two cities — our first new line in years. We plan to start service next June by running buses during weekday commute hours. The route hasn’t been set, so the new line doesn’t have a name or number yet.

Get email updates about the new Tualatin–Sherwood bus line »

Both cities’ mayors have emphasized the importance of the connections this bus line will provide. Residents need to get places: Tualatin’s WES Station, downtown and industrial areas; the shops at Sherwood’s Parkway Village. After months of work and conversations with both communities, we determined that a line with 5,200 hours of service could begin as soon as summer 2016.

(We understand if you’re eager to get on board sooner, but consider all that’s left to do: researching the route, building bus stops, creating schedules, assigning operators, coordinating connections…)

We’re grateful for every opportunity to provide more and better service, and to be able to bring communities together makes that feeling even better. Often, when it comes to planning for the future, it’s easy to think change is still years down the road — this is a nice reminder that great things are often just around the corner.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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Ten bus lines that will change when the MAX Orange Line opens

A lot will change when the MAX Orange Line opens in September. Light rail reaching north Clackamas County means new ways of getting to work, family, friends and opportunity — even if you’re not taking a train.

Pedestrians and cyclists are eager to upgrade their commute and take Tilikum Crossing. Streetcar riders will finally be able to loop around the City Center. Even the raindrops will have new places to go, with all the bioswales, stormwater planters and rain gardens along the corridor.

Line 17-Holgate will shift its route to Tilikum Crossing on Sept. 13.
Line 17-Holgate will shift its route to Tilikum Crossing on Sept. 13.

But some of the biggest changes coming with the Orange Line are for bus riders. Some lines will be combined to reduce redundancy and take advantage of the light rail line. Some will get more frequent service, or additional service hours. A couple routes will shift to Tilikum Crossing.

The changes to bus service you’ll see on September 13:

Line 9-Powell and Line 17-Holgate will shift from the Ross Island Bridge to Tilikum Crossing. Line 9 will also see its Frequent Service restored to 15 minutes or better on Sundays. Both routes will connect to the MAX Orange Line at stations between Southeast and Downtown Portland.

Line 19-Woodstock will start service earlier on weekend mornings, with trips beginning around 8 a.m. Buses will connect to the Orange Line at the SE Bybee Blvd Station.

Line 28-Linwood and Line 34-River Rd will combine to become Line 34-Linwood/River Rd. This new route will run twice as frequently as the 28 and 34 do now, and it will connect with the Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St Station and at the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek Station.

Line 31-King Rd and Line 33-McLoughlin will combine to become Line 33-McLoughlin/King Rd. This new route will head up to Milwaukie (as the 33 does now) then turn east on its way out to Clackamas Town Center. This line will increase frequency and hours of service along King Road, and Frequent Service will be restored on Sundays.

Line 32-Oatfield will connect with the Orange Line at the Milwaukie/Main St Station before reaching Jackson Street, where it will turn around and head back south.

Line 99-Macadam/McLoughlin will add new service to Oregon City in the mornings and to Downtown Portland in the evenings. There will be new stops and service on Tacoma Street, and the route will move to serve Macadam Avenue and cross the new Sellwood Bridge once it opens. It will connect with the Orange Line at SE Park Ave and SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek stations.

Line 154-Willamette/Clackamas Heights will extend from Oregon City out to Clackamas Heights, which will see more service than Line 34 currently provides.

Four other lines (29, 70, 75 and 152) will connect with the Orange Line on the Eastside, though their routes won’t change.

See the complete list of bus changes associated with the MAX Orange Line »
Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Specialist. I'm here to help tell our story, and to share the interesting things I find along the way. When I'm not here, you'll find me out riding my bike and taking pictures.

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New rules for vaping and service animals

As you know, we have a set of “Rules for Riding” in place to help our riders and employees feel safe and comfortable while on the transit system. Effective today, we’ve revised our rules on two issues that we know are really important to riders—smoking and service animals. Here’s what’s changing:

“No smoking” now includes vaporizers

Smoking (anything!) is already prohibited on all TriMet property for the health and comfort of our riders. But we’re updating our rules to specifically call out vaporizers/vape cigarettes in addition to e-cigarettes. Many of you have called or written us about riders vaping at stops and stations, and this change will allow us to enforce the smoking ban more effectively. So, when you see a “No Smoking” sign, that means no smoking—of any kind.

As to where you can and can’t smoke, there is an exception to the rule: Smoking is allowed outside of bus shelters and MAX stations along public sidewalks, such as in Downtown Portland.

By the way, if you see someone smoking regularly at a stop or station at around the same time of day on the same days of the week, let us know. Enforcement actions include a $250 fine or even an exclusion from the system.

If you smoke, please be courteous to your fellow riders and smoke away from the shelter, and definitely not on buses or trains!

Companion animals must be in a carrier

For the safety of our riders, we’ve revised our definition of a service animal. Effective today, pets that provide emotional support or companionship (“companion” or “comfort” animals) are no longer considered service animals and will have to ride in a closed carrier. Only guide dogs, signal dogs or other animals trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability will be allowed on board outside of a carrier.

So how can operators tell if an animal is really a service animal? Operators can ask, “Is that a service animal?” and “What service is your animal trained to perform?” But that’s about it. By law, if a rider claims their animal is a service animal, we have to take their word for it. We know some people abuse this policy, but there’s really not much we can do about it.

Keep in mind, many riders legitimately need and use service animals to help them get around—and it may not always be obvious that an animal is a service animal.

Jessica Ridgway

Jessica Ridgway

I'm TriMet's Web and Social Media Coordinator. I develop content for our website and social media channels. I'm a daily MAX rider and an adopted Oregonian.

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