Category Archives: Places to Go

How to Get to ZooLights

ZooLights, Oregon Zoo’s annual winter festival, attracts crowds in the thousands every night. and there’s simply no way Washington Park’s parking lots can fit that many cars. And if you’re planning to visit on a weekend, you’re not likely to find a spot without circling for half an hour. Or more.

Take MAX, if you can

Fortunately, the Washington Park MAX Station is located right across from the zoo’s entrance, with Blue and Red Line trains arriving frequently throughout the evening.

Plan a trip to Washington Park

Park and ride

If you don’t live near a MAX line, don’t worry. The Sunset Transit Center Park & Ride has more than 600 parking spaces, and it’s just one MAX stop west of the zoo. Plus it’s free.

If you’re going by bike, you can skip the steep climb by locking up downtown and hopping on MAX.

Take transit and save
When you take transit to ZooLights, you’ll save up to $5 on each admission — just show your valid fare at the gate. If you’re already an Oregon Zoo member, show your fare at the gate and you can bring in one friend or family member free of charge.


Taking Lyft or Uber is a lot pricier than taking the train, but you won’t have to worry about parking. There’s a designated ridesharing area just down the hill from the zoo’s main entrance.

Get a Lyft promo code from Explore Washington Park

Get dropped off

There’s a drop-off zone in front of the Zoo Education Center. When the main lot is full, dropping off is your only option.


Leave early, if you can. The main parking lot tends to fill by 4:30 p.m. on days when school is out, and the Sylvan overflow by 6 p.m. There’s a shuttle that runs from the overflow lot to the zoo entrance. Parking in the main lot is $8 during ZooLights.

Don’t miss out on tips for getting to popular events around town! Sign up for Riders Club ➫

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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33 Things to Do With Your Kids Around Portland This Spring Break

At long last, spring is here.

Along with the booming trees and flowers, longer days and warmer weather, every child is on spring break.

If this vacation will be a staycation, you don’t need to stay cooped up all week. We’ve compiled a list of 33 diverse adventures to get you and your children out of the house. With ideas for all ages, and everything easily accessible by transit, this is your guide to the ultimate Portland spring break staycation.

Pro tip: Use a Hop card on your spring break adventures for cheapest fares and greatest flexibility across MAX, buses, WES, Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN. 

The Classics

1. Ride the newest roller coaster at Oaks Park

Fun fact: Oaks Park is one of the few remaining trolley parks; an amusement park designed to be visited via transit. Their newest roller coaster, Adrenaline Peak, launched March 24th


2. Visit five star animals at the Zoo

Visit the zoo and have your family rate the animals. Spoiler alert: they’re all five out of five stars.


3. Celebrate Piano Day, TriMet style

Stop by the Washington Park MAX Station on Piano Day and inspire your child to fall in love with music.


4. See a Trail Blazers game and (just maybe) be a part of history

Don’t look now but the Trail Blazers are on a roll. Take your kids to one of the few remaining home games this season, so they can say they were there in 2018.


5. Go on an Easter egg hunt

Easter is April 1 and there are family-friendly activities and egg hunts in every part of town.

Happy ninth birthday to the Portland Aerial Tram! 🎉🚡🎉

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6. Get a different view of the city on the Portland Arial Tram

Give your child a whole new perspective on their home town with a three-minute trip that climbs over 500 feet.


7. Meet Robots at OMSI

OMSI’s newest exhibition, Robot Revolution, just opened. Go and get close to some of the coolest robots ever assembled!


Pop Culture

8. Witness the magic of Laika at the Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum’s soon-to-conclude Laika exhibit offers a mesmerizing look into the sets, puppets and costumes that infuse life into Hillsboro-based Laika’s beloved stop-motion movies.


9. Indulge their inner Star Wars geek at Saber Forge

Leave your Star Wars-obsessed child speechless with a trip to a store that makes and sells lightsabers.


10. Visit all the Simpsons references in Portland

Is your child a fan of the legendary animates series? Seek out all the local places that inspired Simpsons creator Matt Groening.

11. Stop by Movie Madness and set up your own movie marathon

The newly-saved local landmark is as vital as ever. With thousands of titles in dozens of genres at this rental shop and museum of film, you can create a movie marathon that will appeal to any child.


Be Active

12. Ride a wave (indoors)

Mt Scott Indoor Pool features a water slide, wave pool, and perfect 84 degree water, allowing your kids to pretend spring break is summer vacation.


13. See how you roll at Gresham Skate World

Gresham’s classic Skate World is still the place for your child to learn how to skate, or show off the moves they already know.


14. Burn off energy at an indoor bike park

The Lumberyard, the West Coast’s only indoor bike park, is the perfect place for your extreme sports loving child to while away the hours this spring break.


15. Hit the trampolines

Instead of bouncing off the walls at home, let your child bounce on trampolines at Tigard’s Sky High Sports Trampoline Park.


Get Outdoors

16. Take a hike

There are dozens of hikes suitable for children of all ages across the Portland area. Our Transit to Trails map is a great starting point.

Hello, weekend. ☀😎 🌸#GoByTransit

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17-20. Visit a garden at its peak

Portland is rich in stunning parks, and spring break is when many are at their most beautiful. See the cherry blossoms at their peak in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Walk among the blooms and wildlife (and maybe spot bald eagle) at the picturesque Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Or, see the newly remodeled Japanese Gardens in Washington Square Park, one of the finest Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Or, discover Lan Su Chinese Garden, a walled secret hiding in the urban landscape of Old Town.

#GoByTransit: Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

#GoByTransit: Tom McCall Waterfront Park

#GoByTransit: Japanese Garden

#GoByTransit: Lan Su Chinese Garden

21. Get a “Before” view of Willamette Falls

The Pacific Northwest’s largest waterfall will be transformed in the coming years. Visit this historic landmark with your child and give them a memory of this falls as they were, before the ambitious restoration begins.


22. Get back to nature at the Spring Break Exploration Days in Tualatin

See spring unfold in the wild with the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s spring break-focused kid friendly programming.


 … Or Escape the (Probable) Rain

23. Take Oregon’s newest trains to see some of its oldest

Show your child how previous generations used to #gobytransit at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, conveniently located on the MAX Orange line.


24-25. Play wildly creative indoor mini golf at Glowing Greens

Regular mini golf is fun, but indoor black light mini golf is an experience. Find it in Beaverton and in Downtown Portland.

#GoByTransit Beaverton

#GoByTransit Portland

26-27. Challenge your child to a classic arcade games

Let your child dive into 40 years of arcade games, from early classics to incredible modern day releases, at Ground Kontrol or Quarterworld.

#GoByTransit: Ground Kontrol

#GoByTransit Quarterworld

Spend Some Time With Furry and Feathered Friends

28. Get up close with feathered friends in Tualatin

Meet more than a dozen stunning and intelligent birds up-close when The Bird Man comes to the Tualatin Public Library.


29. Spend some time with the cats at Purrington’s Cat Lounge

Portland’s first cat lounge gives you and children as young as 6 a chance to enjoy a cozy beverage in the company of feline friends up for adoption.


30. Volunteer at the Humane Society

Do good while spending time with animals who could use the love; children as young as 12 can volunteer at Oregon Humane Society.


Go On An Adventure Of Your Own Making

31. Try to find Portland’s best dumpling

Kid-friendly dumplings are a great way to introduce a child to our diverse food scene. Hunt down Portland’s best dumplings and find a favorite.

32. Tour Ramona’s Portland

Perhaps Portland’s most famous and beloved fictional resident, Ramona Quimby’s imprint can be found across NE Portland. Pick up Portland-based Microcosm Publishing’s “Walking With Ramona” for instructions on how to take a three-mile Beverly Cleary walking tour.

33. Go on a tiny horse-finding adventure

Explore Portland’s quirky side with your child by tracking down as many tiny horses as you can find! Your all day Hop pass will allow you to traverse the city with ease as you uncover this whimsical art project.

Leaving town after all?

Take the train to the plane! We’ve added additional trains, including earlier and later trains, to and from PDX. Getting to the airport is easier than ever and as affordable as always.

Tom Williams

Tom Williams

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. I'm here to share our story, and to keep you up-to-date on how TriMet can help you navigate Portland. When I'm not working, I love to read, spend time outdoors, and visit tiki bars.

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Milwaukie Station Food Carts Open on the Orange Line

Take the Orange Line to Milwaukie and you’ll notice something new at the Main Street station: food carts!

In fact, the carts at the Milwaukie Station pod are the city’s first. There are 11 carts open now, with more to come.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Watch Oregon Ballet Theatre Dancers on MAX

We recently joined up with the Oregon Ballet Theatre to shoot a promotional clip for their upcoming performance of Choreography XX in Washington Park. In the spot, junior company dancers Erika Crawford and Daniel Salinas show how easy it is to take transit to the Rose Garden — while dancing the entire time:

Choreography XX is a two-night engagement celebrating dance created by women. On the evenings of Thursday, June 29 and Friday, June 30, the company will perform new works by choreographers Gioconda Barbuto, Helen Simoneau and Nicole Haskins. Both shows will be free but seating in the Rose Garden Amphitheater will be limited, so plan your trip in advance and get there early!

RSVP on Facebook

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Tour Local Coffee Roasters by Transit

Last week, we asked our Facebook followers to tag a friend they’d like to get coffee with for a chance to win Barista beans and gift cards.

The response did more than reaffirm how much people love coffee. It showed how coffee plays a huge role in creating community — Portland is renown for its coffee culture, and there’s no doubt the abundance of coffee shops have helped shape nearly every neighborhood in the city.

To illustrate just how vibrant the scene is, we put together a map of local roasters — more than just cafés, these dedicated spots take coffee all the way from raw beans to brew. Conveniently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, every roaster’s café is accessible by transit. And with 47 roasters making the list (let us know if we forgot any), you’re not likely to run out of new spots to try any time soon.

Plan your trip

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Tour the New FFTTNW Murals by Transit

If you’ve noticed a new mural along your commute, it’s likely to be from this year’s crop of FFTTNW projects (that’s short for Forest For The Trees Northwest, a non-profit dedicated to contemporary public art). These include seven stunning large-format murals and one imaginative airport installment.

Each is worth visiting, and all are easily accessible by transit — in fact, you could probably tour them in the space of an afternoon. (We’d recommend taking a little more time, though, to visit the businesses on the other side of the murals, which include a cider house, maker spaces, a gallery and restaurant.)

Here’s a sample itinerary:

1. Disjecta — Molly Bounds,  Alex Gardner and Maxwell McMaster

8371 N Interstate Ave.

A photo posted by Forest For The Trees (@ffttnw) on

Start with the soft pastel hues outside this vibrant contemporary arts center in Kenton, right off the Yellow Line (near Paul Bunyan).

2. The Make House — Adam Friedman

8371 N Interstate Ave.

A photo posted by Forest For The Trees (@ffttnw) on

One stop south on the Yellow Line brings you a short walk from Adam Friedman’s trippy vision of Mt. Hood, painted on the side of the Make House on Interstate.

3. Cider Riot — Peach Momoko and Camille Rose Garcia

807 NE Couch St.

Continuing to the Rose Quarter and connecting to Line 6 or Portland Streetcar at the convention center, make your way to the cluster of murals on the inner eastside.

4. ADX — Nina Chanel Abney and Yoshi47

417 SE 11th Ave.

A photo posted by Forest For The Trees (@ffttnw) on

You’re already smiling at this one.

5. The Redd — Zach Yarrington and David Rice

1140 SE 7th Ave.

A photo posted by Zach Yarrington (@zachumz) on

What does it say? You’ll have to go there to find out.

6. Hanoi Kitchen — Jesse Hazelip

7925 NE Glisan St.

A photo posted by Forest For The Trees (@ffttnw) on

Catch a Line 19 bus out to this Montavilla restaurant to see this inspired piece by artist and tattooist Jesse Hazelip. Can you tell where his inspiration comes from?

7. PDX Terminal A — J. Shea

7000 NE Airport Way

A photo posted by Forest For The Trees (@ffttnw) on

Finally, catch a Red Line train from Gateway TC to the final installation, located inside Portland International Airport (before security). Here, mixed media artist J. Shea has more than a mural: (literally) wiry figures are suspended mid-air, appropriately suggesting flight and movement.

Of course, there’s no wrong way to visit these public art pieces — try using the map below to plan your own journey:

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Five Fun Things To Do in July!

Nothing beats an Oregon summer. After so many months of rain, we welcome the sun with open arms and celebrate the warmest season of the year with brews, blues, and inner tubes!

Here are a few fun events taking place this July and, of course, you can #GoByTransit!

Waterfront Blues Fest: July 1-4

LoveBomb Go-Go | Photo by Brit Forbes
LoveBomb Go-Go | Photo by Brit Forbes

Listen to some great tunes and help fight hunger at the same time! For its 29th year, the Blues Fest will take over the South Waterfront from July 1 through 4.

The Big Float: July 10

Grab your inner tubes and get ready for the Big Float! Celebrate the Willamette River at this annual event — and everyone’s welcome! (This year the float features two 100-foot Slip & Slides!)

Portland Highland Games: July 16


The Highland Games bring the sights and sounds of the Scottish highlands to Rose City. Bagpipe bands, whiskey samples, highland dancers — there’s something for everyone at this event!

PDX Pop Now! July 22-24


This free, all-ages, non-profit festival returns this year with performances from 43 Portland artists. Catch the music, a street fair, food carts and more under the Hawthorne Bridge at AudioCinema.

Oregon Brewers Festival: July 27-31

Now, it wouldn’t be an Oregon summer without the annual Oregon Brewers Fest! For the 29th year in a row, you can sip more than 80 independent craft beers along the banks of the Willamette River. (Must be 21+ to attend this event.)

Get out and enjoy fun in the sun — we’ll do the driving!

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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2016 Rose Festival Events

Once again, it’s time for the annual Rose Festival! This Portland summer tradition has been celebrated for over 100 years, and this year the theme is “Excessive Celebration!”

Here’s a quick guide to some of the big events taking place this summer — Avoid the hassles of traffic and parking downtown and let us take you there!

CityFair: June 2-5 and June 9-12


For just a few weekends, CityFair takes over the South Waterfront! Take a ride on the Ferris wheel, get your face painted and eat something deep-fried before it’s too late! CityFair closes at 11 p.m. all nights.

Starlight Parade: June 4


This year, the Starlight Parade celebrates 40 years! This crowd-favorite parade runs along a 2.25-mile route and lights up the streets of Downtown Portland from 8:30 p.m. through 11 p.m.

Service information during the Starlight Parade

Fleet Week: June 8-12

Since the very first Rose Festival back in 1907, visiting ships and other fleet-related elements (like submarines) have been making their way to Portland’s waterfront — and this year is no different!

One of the purposes of Fleet Week has always been to celebrate and thank the active and reserve military personnel and all veterans.

Service information during Fleet Week

Junior Rose Festival Parade: June 8

The Junior Parade has been an official Rose Festival event since 1936! Join in on the nation’s oldest and largest children’s parade from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Hollywood District.

Service information during the Junior Parade

Grand Floral Parade: June 11


This floral-filled parade is a beloved annual tradition. The Grand Floral Parade is reflection of all the co-existing communities in Portland, and every year hundreds of thousands of cheering viewers come out to watch this parade wind through the 4.2-mile route through city streets and across the Willamette River.

Service information during the Grand Floral Parade

The Rose Festival parades are typically our busiest days of the year, so please plan extra time and don’t forget your fare!

You can purchase tickets in advance on the TriMet Tickets app, at the grocery store, the TriMet Ticket office, or online. (Also available on the app is a new feature to help you connect with transportation options, like Lyft and car2go.)

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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The 2016 Spring Break Staycation Guide

If you’ve got a break coming up and you’re staying in town, here are some transit-accessible ideas for when…

Image: Picnic House
You could eat at three different restaurants a day during Portland Dining Month and not try them all. Image: Picnic House

You’re hungry: Portland Dining Month

In a city known for embracing food culture, March is the tastiest month. This year, more than 120 restaurants are offering a three course special for $29. Browse the entire list, which spans 24 (!) categories and restaurants citywide. (And don’t think for a second that there’s a shortage of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options — there’s a checkbox for that.)

Every day in March at 120+ restaurants throughout Portland.

You’re thirsty: Spring Beer & Wine Fest

Not only are 39 great, mostly local breweries and wineries exhibiting at this event — there are also cideries, meaderies, distilleries, cheesemakers and chocolatiers. And the fact that it’s indoors means you don’t have to worry about spring showers diluting your drink!

Oh, and get there early if you can: The first 500 in line on Friday get in free!

March 25 & 26 at Oregon Convention Center.


Portland Saturday Market
Don’t forget: Saturday Market is open Sundays, too.

You’ve got family in town: Saturday Market

This month marks the return of one of Portland’s longest-running events, Saturday Market (it’s on Sundays, too). At its core, the market is an artists’ community that gives visitors — approximately one million each year — a direct connection to the artisans, makers and artists. Within the 250+ craft and food booths everyone in your party is guaranteed to find something they want, love or simply and inexplicably need to have.

Saturdays and Sundays, March through December at North Waterfront Park and Ankeny Plaza.

You’re feeling nostalgic: Gresham Skate World and The Tiki Putt

In an age where throwbacks reign supreme, this is the real deal — a neighborhood roller rink that’s been open since the mid-70s. There’s even a Spring Break All-Nighter if you think you’ve got what it takes.

Open daily at 1220 NE Kelly Avenue in Gresham.

If your skating skills are suspect, try the nearby mini-golf course at The Tiki Putt. Its 18 holes feature huts, jungles and an active volcano — plus the whole thing is blacklit.

Open daily at 1776 NW Fairview Drive in Gresham.


Flickr/Portland Japanese Garden
The Strolling Pond is one of many serene spaces at the Portland Japanese Garden. Image: Flickr/Portland Japanese Garden

You need a close-in getaway: Portland Japanese Garden

After a six-month closure to work on an expansion, this local treasure has reopened its doors. It’s been hailed as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, and a stroll around the grounds (you’ll visit the Natural Garden, Sand and Stone Garden, Flat Garden, Strolling Pond Garden and Tea Garden) makes this abundantly, serenely, beautifully clear.

Open daily in Washington Park.

You need a wardrobe update: The Mall

You’ve earned your break, why not treat yourself? Head over to the shop whose Instagrams you’re always liking and see what’s in store. Or go to the mall and surprise yourself (any mall will do, but Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center and Lloyd Center are the biggest). We love spring because it symbolizes a fresh start, and a new outfit pairs well with a new outlook.


Train to Plane
We’ll take you right to the terminal.

You’re leaving town: Portland International Airport

It’s been quite a winter. So if your plan is to get far, far away (a week of sun and sand, perhaps) we’ve got you. Skip the parking and catch the train to the plane — MAX Red Line trains arrive at PDX about every 15 minutes during the day.

(We can get you to Amtrak and Union Station, too!)

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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Four Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

In a smart Slate piece about more thoughtful ways to celebrate Black History Month, Aisha Harris implores readers to do more — to make an effort to learn something new about the black community or experience.

So if you haven’t already, now’s a great time to start. We’ve gathered some ideas below — these upcoming events will broaden your perspective and offer insight into the past, present and future of African-American culture. Each is guaranteed to be engaging and thought-provoking, and all are accessible by transit.

Cascade Festival of African Films

Thursday, Friday and Saturday screenings through March 5 at PCC Cascade Campus’ Moriarty Arts & Humanities Building. Free.


The films being shown this year take on subjects as varied as urban life, gender equality and religious fundamentalism, but the majority of them share a common trait: They were made by African directors. This makes for a great opportunity to explore the continent’s diverse cultures through the lens of first-hand experience.

The festival’s centerpiece film, Run, plays February 19 at 7 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre. Free.

The festival’s centerpiece film is Run, which takes place in the present-day Ivory Coast. The story reflects on the journey of a man named Run, who is in hiding after assassinating the country’s prime minister. It’s described as “impassioned and poetic…a strong allegory for the people and history of contemporary Ivory Coast.”

Portland Black Film Festival

Through February 27 at the Hollywood Theatre. General admission $8.

Bringing things closer to home, this young film festival focuses on the black experience in America. Seven films will be screened, including A Ballerina’s Tale, the story of prodigal ballerina Misty Copeland, and the only known print of Catch My Soul, a 1974 rock opera treatment of Othello (!).

African American Read-In

February 14 at 2 p.m. at the North Portland Library; Teen Read-In is February 26 at 4 p.m. at the St. Johns Library. Free.

Two Multnomah County Libraries have gathered community leaders, teachers, students and local celebrities to read from their favorite books by black authors — but you can do more than just listen. Everyone will be able to share words from their favorite works, and children and young adults will be able to enjoy special gatherings.

PDX Jazz Fest

February 18–26 at a dozen Portland venues. Tickets for individual shows from $15.


This festival began 13 years ago as a Black History Month initiative to heighten jazz outreach and education in Portland, and now it’s bringing world-class performances to our city. Jazz is one of America’s most celebrated art forms, with roots in hundreds of years of the black experience — but it’s not all history. What you’ll discover at these shows and talks is that jazz is an ever-evolving medium.

So whether you’re at an intimate club like the iconic Jimmy Mak’s or seated in the Newmark Theater, taking in a tribute to the greats or watching a virtuoso harpist who has recorded with Drake, you’re sure to marvel at how vital jazz really is.

The final point Harris makes in her article is that we need to continue this conversation year-round — not just every February. So after you’ve enjoyed the festivals and events, consider that there is infinitely more to share and learn. There are people to meet, businesses to become acquainted with, books to read and lots of history to consider.

All this is especially important to us as a transit service (as everyone who knows Rosa Parks’ story can attest). We have an ongoing responsibility to steer our legacy toward fairness, understanding and appreciation — that’s what drives our transit equity and diversity work, and why we encourage everyone to celebrate Black History Month.

Brian Lum

Brian Lum

I'm TriMet's Web & Social Media Coordinator. 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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