Category Archives: Fun Stuff

3 ways to kick off the perfect Oregon summer

This is our city’s time to shine. Summer is Oregon’s reward to its citizens for all those gray months. And it’s catnip to tourists who you’ll no doubt be entertaining.

Here’s a breakdown of just a few of the must-dos in Downtown Portland as well as a long list of the lesser known goings-on inside and outside of Portland that shouldn’t be overlooked.


It’s called “Portland’s Living Room” for a reason. During the summer it’s rare to find the Square not teeming with music, flowers or food.

flicks on the bricksSome of our favorite events include:

Noon Tunes. Otherwise known as the perfect lunch hour. Enjoy free concerts every Tuesday and Thursday from July 15 to August 14.

Flicks on the Bricks is great way to spend an evening downtown. Come see the Square magically transformed into Portland’s largest outdoor movie theater! Live pre-movie entertainment begins at 7 p.m. every Friday from July 26 to August 16.

Yoshida’s Sand in the City. No time to go to the Coast? Then come to Portland’s biggest beach party. Sand in the City takes over the Square on July 18-20.

Finally, Festa Italiana brings Italy to Downtown Portland with lots of spirited entertainment and food from August 21 to 23.


Our area is known for its outdoor markets and every year they just keep getting bigger and better.

Farmers Market Here are three that can’t be beat:

Portland Saturday Market: A lot more than tie-dye and patchouli can be found at this downtown market which has become the largest outdoor arts and crafts market in operation with well over 200 booths. The food stalls and live music alone make the Saturday Market worth the visit. (Open Saturday and Sunday through December 24)

Portland Farmers Market: With eight locations all over Portland there are more than enough opportunities to see what foods you might fall in love with this summer. The most popular location is on the PSU campus at SW Park Avenue and SW Montgomery Street. There any Saturday you can visit over 130 booths of deliciousness. (Saturdays through December 20)

Beaverton Farmers Market: Open since 1998, Beaverton Farmers Market has been around even longer than Portland’s Farmers Market and it has just as many booths! (8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May to November)


Enjoy the mild temperatures and rainless days while you can!Transit to TrailsThe Portland metropolitan area has more than 10,000 acres of parks and natural areas. Here are some of our favorite trails from North Portland to Tualatin to Buxton and a lot of points in between that you can visit by taking TriMet.

Of course this is just a very short list of some of the top must-dos. Even though the Rose Festival is over there are more than enough events to keep you busy until September! So enjoy the summer and let TriMet help make your trips easier.

Your comprehensive list of summer events


We’re testing an all-electric bus

Electric Test Bus

Photo courtesy of John Vincent/Portland Tribune

If an especially quiet silver-and-black bus rolls up to your stop, rest assured… it’s a real TriMet bus! Well, at least for a while it is. Starting June 23, an all-electric test bus will join the fleet for about two weeks as we try out the latest in environmentally friendly bus technology.

BYD electric bus facts:

  • Battery lasts up to 24 hours
  • Charges in 2-4 hours
  • No transmission or internal-combustion engine
  • Battery is disposable and pollution-free
  • Zero emissions

The zero-emissions, American-made bus will run on various TriMet routes between June 23 and July 3, providing extra trips between scheduled service on weekdays. (It doesn’t have a fare box, so rides will be free!)

On loan from the manufacturer, BYD Motors, Inc., this bus can go 24 hours on a single charge, and the battery is disposable and pollution-free. Initial testing also suggests a big cost savings on fuel and maintenance compared to diesel, compressed natural gas and hybrid-electric buses—even other electric buses.

As the Portland area moves toward more renewable sources of energy, we’re exploring other fuel-efficient options for our bus fleet.

We’ve applied for a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to purchase nine all-electric vehicles and charging stations. This test is an opportunity for us to “kick the tires.”BYD logo

Have you ridden the BYD electric bus? We’d love to hear your feedback! Email us at or call 503-238-RIDE (7433) option 5.

Here’s a great video from our friends over at

Spring Break Staycation Guide

cherryblossomSpring is here! Save on major travel expenses like airline tickets, lodging, gas and meals by taking a spring break “staycation”. Pick up a 1-Day Pass (only $5 each) and let us take you out to explore these local attractions that are ideal for keeping money in your pocket.

Go old-school and become a tourist
See the city through a visitor’s eyes and do what they do. Visit the Portland Art Museum, OMSI, the Portland Japanese Garden or the Zoo. Maybe it’s trying Dim Sum in Chinatown or roller skating at Oaks Park. Always sure to please is the Portland Saturday Market, with arts and crafts in its open-air marketplace.

Spend a day at a park
There are no shortages of parks in Portland. Pack a picnic, blanket and chairs. Spread out and let the kids run around while you sit back and relax. Take TriMet to one of many trails and parks in the area.

Swim day
Sure, spring break in Portland often means dodging rain, but it doesn’t mean you can’t pretend you’re in Maui and enjoy a day at the pool. Find an indoor community pool and dive in.

Find what’s fresh at a farmers market
Head to your local farmers market for some fresh and colorful fruits and veggies. Get the kids in on the fun and have them choose what to buy for dinner!

Get lost
In places such as Powell’s Books or Forest Park, it’s easy to wander and get lost. Bring the kids, dog, friends or family for an outing you’re sure to enjoy.

If you are heading out of town for spring break, let us take you to PDX or Union Station.

Plan your trip
It’s easy to explore Portland on TriMet over spring break. Check out the many other destinations you can discover on buses, MAX Light Rail, WES Commuter Rail and Portland Streetcar.
Plan a trip today!

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My quest to ride every single MAX car

Dan Delany and his son on board car 107 in TriMet's maintenance shop.

For the conclusion of Dan Delany’s quest to ride every MAX car, Dan and his son came to TriMet’s Ruby Junction maintenance facility, where the elusive car 107 was in for repairs.

My name is Dan Delany, and I have been on every MAX car.

Like many people, I commute on the MAX trains from outside the city to work in downtown Portland every day. After riding for a few months, I started noticing the car numbers and wondering if I had seen all of the cars. I looked on Wikipedia and learned that there are 127 MAX cars, which made riding all of them seem like an achievable goal.

Once that thought was in my head, at the beginning of August I set out to ride every car. My rules were simple: it only counted if I rode the car at least one stop. Just seeing a car didn’t count; I had to actually ride it. (I did make one exception to this rule at the very end.) Some of my co-workers started to play along too. Our office manager particularly enjoyed letting me know when she rode a car that I still needed to ride.

I never went out with the specific goal of riding MAX cars; I just kept track of cars that I rode when I was riding MAX as part of my routine.

I started posting on Twitter about my project, and @trimet occasionally responded to my tweets with encouraging responses. When I got down to around 10 cars left, I started to be very aware of the cars that I hadn’t yet been on. Car 320 proved to be my nemesis for a while. I kept on seeing it when I was out and about but didn’t get to ride it. I saw it when I was driving in my car. I saw it on other trains while I was riding MAX trains. Once I saw it when I was waiting for my lunch at a food truck downtown. 320 was even in the news after an accident in November.

When I got down to 5 cars remaining, I started putting the list of remaining cars into my tweets, and @trimet told me at one point that one of my remaining cars was in the shop. It was a small effort on their part, but I appreciate that they played along with my goofy little project.

I rode 320 on January 2, just a few weeks after @trimet let me know that it was still out there. 320 was a bit of an event for me. My MAX stop is out near the end of the Blue Line, and when I arrived at the station that morning, 320 was going by on a train headed away from downtown, towards the end of the line. I had some time that morning, so I waited for it to go to the end of the line and come back. It took less than an hour.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to do that. 320 was the car that took me home on Thursday, February 6, the day that Portland’s big snowstorm really kicked in.

I still hadn’t seen 107, but @trimet stepped up and helped me out. On February 14, my son and I went on a tour of the MAX repair facility at Ruby Junction, and we got to see and board car 107 in the shop. Sure, it wasn’t moving, but going on a shop tour made up for that in a big way.

Thank you TriMet for playing along with my project and giving my son and I a fun daddy-son adventure!


About the author: Dan Delany is an engineer at New Relic, a software company downtown.  He tries to drive his car as little as possible.

Holiday events to get you in the spirit of the season

Holiday tree at Pioneer Courthouse SquareFrom Santaland to the Grotto’s Festival of Lights to ZooLights, there is an abundance of holiday events to help you get in the spirit of the season. Pick up some 1-Day Passes or use our mobile ticketing app (for your smartphone) and let us take you there!

Holiday Connections
December 5-7
A treasured Portland tradition for all families, the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus sing a rich array of seasonal music. Plan your trip

The Portland Bazaar
December 6-8
From woodworkers, metalsmiths and cutting-edge fashion designers to bakers and chefs, the Portland Bazaar is a curated holiday fair that celebrates the high-quality handmade work being produced by Portland’s creative community. Plan your trip

Photo courtesy of Dick Thies

Christmas ships light up the night

Christmas Ship Parade
December 6-21
2013 marks the 59th year for the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. An average of about 55 to 60 boats sail between the two rivers.

Santa on the Bricks
December 12-23, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
December 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Head to Pioneer Courthouse Square to give Santa your wishlist. Enjoy heated warming tents with chestnuts on the fire, roasted almonds and hot chocolate. Plan your trip

Tuba Christmas
December 14
Pioneer Courthouse Square hosts more than 250 tubas performing holiday songs. Tuba Christmas has become a Portland tradition and unites our musical community as we celebrate the season. Plan your trip

Breakfast with Santa
December 14 and 21
Join Santa for breakfast at Bridgeport Village. 100% of ticket sales will be donated to charity. Plan your trip

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Photo by Blaine Truitt CovertGeorge Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert

The Nutcracker
December 14-24
Take a trip into a land where toy soldiers fight rat armies, snowflakes come dancing to life and the sugarplum fairy rules with the wave of her wand. The Nutcracker promises to create memories your family will cherish forever. Plan your trip



The Lights on Peacock Lane
December 15-31
For many people, going to see the lights on Peacock Lane–Portland’s Christmas Street–is a must during the holidays. The lane has been known for some of the most impressive Christmas decorations in Portland since the 1920s. Have you joined in on the tradition yet? Plan your trip

Through December 24
The tradition of visiting Santaland and sitting with Santa as you share your Christmas wishlist continues at the Macy’s store in Downtown Portland. Have you been naughty or have you been nice? Plan your trip

Peek-a-boo Santa

Peek-a-boo Santa

Santa at Pioneer Place Mall
Through December 24
Bring your little ones to sit with Santa and capture the enchanting moment with a picture. Plan your trip

Santa at Clackamas Town Center
Through December 24
Santa has made his way from the North Pole and is ready to greet children of all ages. Be ready with your Christmas list in hand! Plan your trip

Santa at Washington Square Mall
Through December 24
Visit Santa at his holiday lodge. Sit on the jolly man’s lap and get a picture to commemorate the holiday. Plan your trip

Photo courtesy of Craig PaupFestival of Lights at The Grotto
Through December 30
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. With over 500,000 lights, nearly 180 choral performances, a petting zoo, carolers, puppet shows and hot chocolate for you and your whole family, what’s not to enjoy? Plan your trip




ZooLightsZooLights Glenn Peters
Through January 5, 2014
No ZooLights 12/24 and 12/25
More than a million LED lights transform the Oregon Zoo into a luminous winter wonderland filled with moving sculptures, forests of lighted trees and animal silhouettes. If you ride the bus or MAX to the Zoo, you can get $1.50 per person off ZooLights admission. Plan your trip

How to name a bridge


Chet Orloff is the Director Emeritus of the Oregon Historical Society and a 22-year member of the Oregon Geographic Names Board. He has also founded and edited the journal Western Legal History, and served as Senior Editor of the Oregon Historical Quarterly. Mr. Orloff is the chair of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge Naming Committee, which is asking the public to help name the new transit bridge over the Willamette, which will open in 2015. 


OK, people of the region, what are we looking for when it comes to naming the new bridge over the Willamette River?

We have another three weeks to get more names up on the chalkboard for consideration for naming the bridge. We’re looking for names that not only connect to the natural and human history of this place over the past 10,000+ years (yep, that’s right), but will work for people of this region in 100, 200, and 300 years from now.

So, time to put aside the frivolous, the cute, the immediate. Think big, think outside your own and our own box of “now.” We have a bigger assignment: naming something whose name will last well beyond our own time.

Is the name inspirational? Not just because it inspires us at this moment, but will inspire people 100, 200, 300(!) years from now. Yes, that is the challenge.

So, when you’re thinking about a name, think about its origin. Where did the name come from? Does it reflect the fuller history of this place? (This “place” being not just part of Portland, or Washington/Multnomah/Clackamas County, or this bend of the Columbia, but part of all of this tri-county region.) Does it reflect the stories of the people who have lived here, for 10,000 years, for the last 200 years, for the past 50 years? Yes, we have to dig deep and not simply go for the “obvious,” the popular, the name(s) we know because we read the newspapers and magazines. We have to go deeper than that.

Is the name inspirational? Not just because it inspires us at this moment, but will inspire people 100, 200, 300(!) years from now. Yes, that is the challenge.

How do we do that?

Well, think about the names of places that have lasted. Why have those names lasted? It’s not easy. (Remember, this bridge is designed to make it through the “Big One”—the subduction earthquake that will rattle all our fillings.)

Does the name reflect how the new bridge connects us as a community? Does it reflect such other themes as “people,” “connections,” “bridging,” “the river,” “the river bank” and the “people and villages” (of the native Multnomah and Clackamas Indians) of people who have occupied our region for thousands of years?

Yes, we want to think about the long term, not just the ephemeral and recent occupants.

Think history, geology, geography, flora and fauna.

Let’s get creative, while being grounded (pun intended!) in what this place is built on (stone, soil, water, plants).

Who really mattered here? Not just the briefly interesting, creative, popular, productive, influential, or impressive. Who truly affected this place and all of us who have lived here?

And, who was local? Yes, that’s a challenge. But, there are a few folks who mattered. People whose influence affects us all, and will do so for generations into the future. If you don’t know who they are, it’s time to take the books off the shelf and do a bit more study.

And, think about how the name will roll off the tongue.

But, mostly, think outside the box of the ordinary, the “right now.” We want to give this bridge a name that will last long beyond our own time. That’s what we’re looking for.

Think you have the perfect name for the new bridge? You can submit your name ideas until 5 p.m. on December 1, 2013. 

Chet Orloff
Chair, Portland Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Bridge Naming Committee

Red fish. Purple raindrop. Green leaf. Which one did you ride?

Introduced in 1978 with the opening of the Portland Transit Mall, the symbols below indicated TriMet service areas. At the time, the service area was organized into seven geographical regions, each with its own Portland-inspired icon: South, green leaf; Southwest, yellow rose; Southeast, brown beaver; West, orange deer; Northeast, purple raindrop; North, red fish; East, blue snowflake.

TriMet Sector Symbols
Seven service areas were created to make it easier for riders to find their destination.

So, let’s say you were in Downtown Portland looking to go to Southeast Portland. You’d catch Line 17 at any “brown beaver” stop along SW 5th Ave. If heading to Northeast, you might catch Line 17 at any” red fish” stop along SW 6th Avenue. The symbols helped people confirm that they were catching the bus in the right direction. They were easy—based on icons, not words or numerals.

Bus stop with purple rain drop

A vintage photo of a bus stop sign with purple raindrop sector symbol.

“I grew up with the sector symbols and loved them. It was this whimsical, Northwest-y, easy-going, almost  mythic way of labeling neighborhoods,” says Jessica Bucciarelli, who handles employee communications at TriMet and a lifelong TriMet rider. “They were practical—I grew up between lines 8 and 9, but if I was Downtown, I could catch almost any purple raindrop and get reasonably close to home.”

Success of the sector symbols were partly due to the fact that they were everywhere. They were on bus stops, schedules, system maps, and even the Yellow Pages. Literally all rider information included these sector symbols. 

Newer-of-the-old sector symbols

Later sector symbol designs.

But, they weren’t entirely intuitive;  people new to our area, for example, wouldn’t necessarily associate a red fish with North Portland. And, if you weren’t starting your trip Downtown—or if you didn’t live in a relatively transit-rich neighborhood—they were not helpful. In 2001, when our online Trip Planner was launched, it was clear what people needed: their bus number. Add to that the fact that many of the routes ran through more than one area.

Glenn Jackson's a purple raindrop!

Glenn Jackson’s a purple raindrop!

We’ve brought the sector symbols back to life by way of t-shirts. And, in commemoration of the t-shirt in the photo below (with Glenn Jackson modeling!), we’ve added this special design for purchase as well. We love the vintage vibe.

Visit the TriMet Gear Store and purchase one today!




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