Category Archives: Fun Stuff

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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Where’s Waldo starting his 100th birthday celebration? On TriMet!

We joined forces with the Holst family to throw Waldo Johnson a surprise 100th birthday party onboard the line 77.

We joined forces with the Holst family to throw rider Waldo Johnson a surprise 100th birthday party on the Line 77.

Waldo Johnson will soon celebrate a birthday few of us reach—he’s turning 100 years old! TriMet and some of Waldo’s closest friends got the celebration started with a surprise party on a bus this morning.

The Line 77 bus pulled up to pick up Waldo at his regular stop on NE Halsey with “HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY, WALDO!” in bright, bold letters on the overhead sign. Waldo’s lost most of his vision to macular degeneration so he couldn’t make out the sign but he couldn’t miss the round of applause and a roaring rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” sung by fellow riders, friends and TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane when he boarded.

“What a WONDERFUL surprise. Everybody is so nice,” said Waldo.

Born in 1913, Waldo’s 100th birthday is July 16, a birthday shared just by chance with the woman behind the wheel of the bus on Friday, Luerine Jackson, a 27-year TriMet bus operator.

“What a WONDERFUL surprise. Everybody is so nice.”

Centenarian Waldo Johnson during his birthday surprise on Line 77.

Centenarian Waldo Johnson during his birthday surprise on Line 77

Waldo will be out of town on his actual birthday, celebrating with his younger sister and brother who are both in their 90s and going strong. He was born in McCool Junction, Nebraska, but has lived in Portland the majority of his life, more than 74 years.

Waldo has ridden TriMet for decades. He and his late wife, Ellen, had only one car, so he’s been using transit in Portland since before TriMet…since the first streetcar era, in fact. As he’s lost more and more of his vision, he’s relied more and more on TriMet.

He rides the 77 to church, not just for Sunday services, but also to volunteer in the Meals on Wheels program serving a hot lunch to seniors. Other days he takes the 77 bus and transfers to the MAX to visit his close friend Jim Holst in Downtown Portland.

Waldo Johnson and his close friend, Jim Holst

Waldo Johnson and his close friend, Jim Holst

Waldo and Jim met through Holst’s work as a financial advisor, but they have become family to each other. Waldo spends every Christmas and Easter with the Holst family. Jim and Kathie’s children have known Waldo all their lives. In fact, their daughter just celebrated turning 16 at a joint birthday party with Waldo.

“He’s 100 years old and busier than I am,” says Jim. “It is because of TriMet that he can do what he does.”

Besides his volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, Waldo is active in Habitat for Humanity.

Waldo Johnson's birthday bus

Waldo Johnson’s birthday bus

Debbie Rehn, the office manager at his church, says, “Waldo’s always been a builder, and he still is. He built a stepstool so the kids can get to the water fountain, a lectern for the Sunday school room, and two beautiful signs.”

TriMet’s General Manager McFarlane presented Waldo with a few tokens of our appreciation for being a dedicated rider, including a “How We Roll” t-shirt and a lifetime pass.

“I can’t wait to use my lifetime pass and I loved the birthday bus!” he says.

Join the Carefree Commuter Challenge in July

Real savings and great prizes too!

Carefree Commuter Challenge

It’s nearly here. Gear up for the July Carefree Commuter Challenge. Discover ways to save on the road and win prizes.

Tap into transit—Let someone else do the driving, while you get some time in to read that page-turner. Not making it into the gym? Turn your work commute into a workout and burn those calories by bike commuting. Share the ride and the cost by carpooling or vanpooling.

Joining the challenge is easy. Take a few minutes to create an account at and then log your transit, bike, carpool/vanpool or walking trips in July. Win a $25 Fred Meyer gift card, plus one of 7 iPads.

More details online at Watch the savings add up and be counted!

Thank you to our sponsors!

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