Category Archives: In the Community

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.

1. PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE EVENTS

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.

2. OPEN MARKETS

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)

3. TRANSIT TO TRAILS

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

 

Since her office moved, Sarah has a new perspective on her work commute

Sarah McCloskey

Sarah McCloskey

Until six months ago, my work commute between Beaverton and my office in Lake Oswego had consisted of driving a stretch of Hwy 217 during peak rush hour traffic each day. I tolerated the slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic in exchange for the convenience of driving my own car.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed.

When I first learned that my firm would be relocating to Downtown Portland, I knew that I would need to make some major changes to my commute. If I were to continue driving to work, it would mean spending twice the time in rush hour traffic on two notoriously congested highways each day. I estimated that my monthly costs for driving and parking would amount to more than double the cost of a 1-Month Pass. Since I did not need the extra stress or expense of driving, the decision was simple: I would take public transit.

My new commute begins with a short ride on WES—now in its 5th year of service—to the Beaverton Transit Center. I enjoy comfortable seats, wide aisles, free Wifi and the friendly WES conductors. I also enjoy getting to know other regular riders that I see each day. After transferring to MAX, I have 25 minutes to get a jump on my morning email or catch up on news, books and crossword puzzles.

Since I started riding public transit, I’m more relaxed. I save money and I’m happy that I am doing my part to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion. When I began riding, I assumed I’d miss the convenience of driving, but, with frequent arrival times, a MAX stop right outside my office and no traffic jams, I’ve found it to be much more convenient than driving!

Sarah McCloskey is a marketing coordinator at Otak, Inc. She is a new TriMet rider and commutes from her home in Beaverton to her office in Downtown Portland.

For Katrina, her phone is her fare, and she couldn’t be happier

Why I Ride - Katrina
Whenever I tell people that I don’t have a driver’s license they’re always shocked. And when I tell them that prior to moving to Portland from Arizona, I didn’t have a car, they ask in horror, “How did you get around?” My answer: I took the bus, of course! I tell them my infamous work commute consisted of four miles of cycling, plus an hour-long bus ride.

Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here…

Thankfully, I now live in a dense urban environment where I have a myriad of transit options. As someone who doesn’t drive, it’s not just a luxury to have access to frequent bus or train service, it’s a necessity. Living in Portland is a transit-taker’s dream, and it’s a huge part of why I moved here for graduate school three years ago.

Needless to say, when the TriMet Mobile Ticketing app was released, I literally jumped from my seat to start the download. I admit that I was a late adopter from my “dumb phone” to an iPhone, but I quickly made the transition into total digital reliance.

Since that day, the ticketing app has been the perfect addition to my transit repertoire, alongside PDX Bus and Transitive. I said goodbye to having to keep track of paper stubs and of how many tickets I had left before having to buy the next pack. Not at a grocery store or near a transit stop? Not a problem!

For me, the best thing about the app is that it’s basically foolproof. Buying tickets is easy because it remembers my card information, so even if I realize at the last moment that my pass is up, I can buy another in minutes. Whenever I see the bus on the horizon, I simply load up my app and prepare to board.

With over 60,000 downloads, the app has proven to be intuitive and easy to understand. And, when using the app for the first time, a simple explanation guides you from the get-go.

My phone literally is my fare, and I couldn’t be a happier transit rider.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is a recent master of Urban Studies graduate from Portland State University and prides herself on being a pedestrian in Portland. She is currently the project Intern at DHM Research and has a blog called Think Urban. 

History in the making: Four finalists are announced in naming the new transit bridge

Transit Bridge

There were nearly 9,500 bridge name submissions to the bridge naming committee. We are very pleased so many people participated. Thank you!

Chet Orloff

Chet Orloff

I’d like to walk through how we came to select the four finalists’ names. During my 40+ year career, in Oregon history I have been involved with many similar ventures and I have to say, this was the most thorough and publicly inclusive and, therefore, the best.

First, the committee considers itself the “general public”—we live all over the region and together bring strong cultural, historical, academic, professional, and geographical experience and wisdom to the naming process. The ten of us represent the diversity of gender, age, geographic and cultural differences that characterize the tri-county region.

We met for the first time last September. We learned more about the bridge from TriMet staff and toured onsite to get a feeling for what the it will look like, its functions and what it may represent. We discussed our hopes and aspirations for the name. We live here like everyone else and like you, want a great name for a great bridge!

The committee reviewed other organizations’ naming criteria, debated what was most important to our region and finalized the selection considerations. Believe me, my 22 years on the Oregon Geographic Names Board came in handy!

  • Origin of name
  • Meaning of proposed name
  • Is it inspirational? If so, why?
  • Regional perspective
  • Does it reflect how bridge connects people? If so, how?
  • Historical significance (if any)
  • Biographical info (if commemorative)
  • Any special cultural meaning?
  • What will it mean 100 years from now?
  • Spelling
  • Pronunciation
  • Sound/ring/flow—does it “roll off your tongue?”

Other members of the public—everyone living here—were asked to help us, to use your imagination, historical research, creativity, cultural awareness, sensitivity, and to send us ideas that “might reflect local geography, Native American and more-recent history, area plants or animals, or other themes relating the symbolic nature of connecting the region.” In addition, we began with the directive that the name of the bridge “can evoke historical moments, remind us of names of noted community leaders, or suggest the beauty, wilderness and or wonder of the entire region.”

Committee members agreed that each of us must be fine with any name going forward being THE final name of the bridge. We also worked to unanimously agree on all names going forward. Unanimity for all final names was essential, we believed.

At the end of the day, committee members feel confident that this has been a thoughtful process, accomplished by thoughtful citizens—members of the tri-county community and of the committee. Our process was not a popularity contest. It was not about lobbying and who has the most clout. It was about selecting a bridge name that best reflects the region’s history, culture, and geography, and that holds the promise to connect and hopefully inspire us—not just now, but hundreds of years from now.

But it is not over, yet. Keep participating and tell us what you think of the four final proposed names. Thank you!

Learn about the final names and send us your comments!

Behind-the-scenes at the TriMet Ticket Office

Georgea Edwards and Erin Block

Customer Service Representatives Georgea Edwards and Erin Block assist a rider at the TriMet Ticket Office at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

It’s fitting that Georgea Edwards and Erin Block work in Oregon’s most visited public space, Pioneer Courthouse Square—also known as “Portland’s Living Room.”

For many TriMet riders, Georgea, Erin and their colleagues are like family. They are two members of a Customer Service team that staffs the TriMet Ticket Office, which is adjacent to Pioneer Square’s fountain. Housed there for more than 25 years, it remains a vital resource for transit riders.

“TriMet is often the only lifeline that many of our riders have,” Erin says. “I take great pride in the work I did as a Trip Planner [in TriMet's Customer Service call center] and feel even more privileged to be able to help the same people in person now that I work at the TriMet Ticket Office.”

I take pride in the work I did as a Trip Planner and feel even more privileged to be able to help the same people in person now that I work at the TriMet Ticket Office,” says Erin.

While TriMet offers riders options like a mobile ticketing app and ticket vending machines to buy tickets and passes, the ticket office maintains a steady customer base that visit every month.

DSC_3694“We are part of their regular routine,” says Georgea. “We work with them to update their Honored Citizen identifications cards, help them plan trips and make sure they get their monthly passes.”

Since TriMet opened the ticket office in 1984, the space has seen a few renovations. Previous iterations included the Lost & Found (now at 4012 SE 17th Ave.) and a bike rack where cyclists could practice loading their bikes on buses. But the core mission of the office has remained the same: selling tickets and passes, and helping riders plan their trips.

“The most noticeable change for us was when we added the 30-Day Pass,” Georgea says. “This was a big help to riders who may not have been able to stop in on the first of the month or didn’t have the resources for a monthly payment at the start of each month. Now they get the discounts of a monthly pass no matter when they purchase the pass.”

Her recommendation is to buy a 50-cent vinyl sleeve to protect the pass (available for purchase at the ticket office). “This will help ensure the expiration date doesn’t wear off before the pass expires,” she says.

Nowadays, Georgea and Erin see a steady stream of riders every day of the week instead of huge lines when monthly passes go on sale. That said, they still suggest patience for those who are looking for a quick visit.

“The vast majority of riders visiting the ticket office are Honored Citizens and they come to us because they need our assistance,” Georgea says. “Sometimes processing their requests takes a little longer, and that’s okay. It’s why we are here.”

In 2012, TriMet moved its ticket outlet sales program to Pioneer Square. “We process requests for more than 130 vendors in the region who sell TriMet tickets to their customers,” Erin explains. “We have outlets that have regular standing orders and then others that submit requests as needed. We are distributing more than $3 million in tickets each month.”

Next time you’re down at Pioneer Square during the day, stop by and say hi. Georgea, Erin and the rest of the ticket office staff will be happy to help you!

The TriMet Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Note: Questions about citations and exclusions are handled by the courts, not the ticket office staff.

Public transit brings the world to us as we ride

Lenny Anderson

Photo: Jonathan Maus

Maybe it all goes back to an admonition from my late father to his teenage son when the latter asked for the car keys way back in the ‘60s: “What’s wrong with public transportation!”

That was not a question!  As kids we rode the Blue bus into Portland from Multnomah, but it did not get you to many other places in Southwest at the time. We had our bikes for that and later the use of the family car, despite the admonition.

Why public transit? It’s where we can be a part of the “polis,” (Greek for “city”) and experience our community at its most diverse and stimulating…

Getting out of Portland really showed me what public transportation or transit can do. A spring and summer in Athens, Greece, after high school introduced me to “big city” transit: the trolley bus to the beaches south of Athens or the old subway to Pireaus where you caught the ferry to Agina or Hydra for a day’s swimming.

And then Paris… where the Metro is part of what makes Paris Paris!

Followed by college in Chicago where we used the “L” and the “IC” to get to the Loop, and finally when I got to the Bay Area, it was the SF Muni (N Judah streetcar to the beach!) and the brand new BART system under the Bay.

Later, travels in South America and Europe where a lot was to be seen from transit: the “Mann” express bus to Mira Flores in Lima; the “Bongee” (streetcar) to Santa Teresa and the 554 bus in Rio; Frankfurt’s S-Bahns, U-Bahns and Strassenbahns to name a few.

Then a return to Portland in the mid 1980s just as the first MAX line opened… Riding it was just like the Strassenbahn in Frankfurt where my wife and I were married in 1985.

But it was the first Gulf War that finally got me out of my little BMW 1602 and onto the TriMet buses to my job on Swan Island from NW PDX. I was boycotting Big Oil! But three buses?? And it took me three times as long than the drive, until I recalculated my morning routine.

Drive: coffee, read the paper, 10 minute walk, then 12 minute drive for a total of at least 45 minutes.

Bus: Walk to the bus stop, read the paper, bus to Rose Quarter Transit Center, practicing German with a fellow rider, read the paper some more, then the bus north and a walk down the hill or a wait for that 3rd bus to Swan Island for a total of 50 minutes! A wash.

Lenny takes in the moment at his surprise retirement party.

Lenny takes in the moment at his surprise retirement party.

And then letters to TriMet and finally five minutes of face time with then General Manager Tom Walsh. I said: “10,000 people working on Swan Island, 10 minutes from MAX! Why no direct bus service?” And a couple of years later, TriMet proposed a new line, the 85-Swan Island, running nonstop from MAX to the Island! Yes!

In ‘98 we got C-TRAN to run an express bus to Swan Island, the “191,” but that’s another story.

Then came the Swan Island Evening Shuttle in 2000 and Interstate MAX and all day 85 service in 2004. And the Swan Island TMA (Transportation Management Association) was off and running.
­­­
Why public transit? It’s where we can be a part of the “polis,” (Greek for “city”) and experience our community at its most diverse and stimulating… All colors, all ages and a lot of different languages. We can “bathe in the masses,” have a random conversation with a fellow rider, and feel a part of the larger community that is really what makes this a great place!

And as more of the world discovers our little secret, public transit brings the world to us as we ride.

Northeast Portland resident Lenny Anderson is retiring this month from his post as the executive director of the Swan Island Business Association. He’s a long-time advocate for transit in the region. 

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

Santaland
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