Category Archives: Why I Ride

Why I Ride: Laura B.

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Why I Ride - Laura B

Where I live:

In NE Portland.

Why I ride:

I ride TriMet everywhere! That is what I love about it. I can get out to school in Tigard, downtown or even IKEA if i’m feeling brave enough to juggle boxes of furniture! Since moving here from London last August, using TriMet every day has helped me learn my way around the city pretty quickly. I use the bus, MAX and Streetcar. I reckon TriMet could give Transport for London a run for it’s money! All that’s needed is a lick of red paint…

My favorite things to do while riding:

People-watching! I usually bring a book but more often than not get distracted by the interesting things going on around me.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

The people.

“The thing I like best about living in Portland? The people.”

My advice:

Approach your journey with an open mind! You never know the people you could meet or the weird and wonderful things you may see. (I’ve found it helps to turn off my music and take the number 15 bus— it’s the friendliest around!)

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Why I Ride: Raymond B.

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Why I Ride - Raymond B

Why I ride:

I ride TriMet to avoid the problems and costs of a car.

I am a recovered car addict. I live in the Pearl District, and I use buses, MAX, and Portland Streetcar to get around.

My insight for non-riders:

People have no idea of how much they are spending on cars. Most people spend 10-15 percent of their income on cars, and that doesn’t count the hassles of car ownership—vandalism, finding and paying for parking, dings, getting it in for repairs.

My favorite things to do while riding:

Reading and checking email.

“Most people spend 10-15 percent of their income on cars.”

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

Public transportation.

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Why I Ride: Jan M.

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Why I Ride - Jan M

About me:

I’m a vendor at Saturday Market. I sell hand-bound non-adhesive blank books in 13 different sizes, with paper, cloth and leather covers. I make linoleum block designs which I use to create the prints on the paper covers, and I sell prints of those designs too. (My niche is “kick it across a soccer field” books.) I have two Maine Coon cats, and I’m proud to call Portland home.

The only part of the TriMet system that I haven’t used is the WES. To be honest, I have become a terrible car rider; they are too low to the ground and don’t have a signal to pull when I feel the need to get out!

Why I ride:

I retired from my position of Radioman First Class (RM1) in the Navy in 1993. I decided when I retired that if I was going to go into debt, it would be for an education, not a car or a house. I am so fortunate to have gone to school—I graduated from the Oregon College of Art and Craft—in a city with the TriMet system.

This is the only city that I have ever lived in that will allow you to work at a temp agency and not have a car. That is because TriMet can put you within blocks of any job. I know, because during the summers, I would temp at jobs all over the city, and I always arrived on time.

Last year I did a temp job in the industrial section of Beaverton and once again arrived on time by bus and MAX!

“To be honest, I have become a terrible car rider; they are too low to the ground and don’t have a signal to pull when I feel the need to get out!”

My favorite things to do while riding:

Read a book, catch up on my journal, and watch for changes that have happened in the city.

My story:

When I first started riding I would hear people saying “thank you” whenever they got off the bus. I had never heard that before on any other system in the states or overseas.
Over time, I began saying “thank you.” “Thank you for doing this job, for calling out streets and letting me know where to get off, for keeping your temper when cars and bikes get crazy, for continuing to drive in heat, cold and crazy rain, for delivering and picking me up 365 days a year! Thank you!”

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

Being able to live without the car payments, license costs, gas prices and car maintenance and still do everything I want to do and haul everything I need (although I won’t buy drywall again and bring it home on the bus again, I promise).

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Why I Ride: Diana G.

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Why I Ride - Diana G

About me:

I am a dental hygienist who loves to get out and enjoy the city life. I live in Beaverton. I used to twirl baton competitively and now perform or judge contests. I recently won a medal as the costume contest winner at the “Run Like Hell!” Half Marathon for my MAX Blue Line costume.

“I feel the best thing about Portland is that people are who they are and most people accept you for you!”

I have been doing this race for four years now and have won a costume prize at three out of the four. Last year, I dressed up as Lady Gaga and recreated her meat dress from felt. That was the first time I did not have my costume recognized. I realized most people were unaware of Lady Gaga and her meat dress from a few years back. Therefore, I decided I needed to come up with an idea this year that was Portland and something the community could relate to and identify.

I began throwing ideas around in my mind. I mentioned the idea to dress up as MAX Blue Line to friends of mine. Some wished me luck, and others told me I should be a maple-and-bacon doughnut from VooDoo Doughnut. Although being a doughnut was a great idea, someone had already used that idea.

Here are some photos of Diana—in and out of costume:

I do my best to think of new ideas and have a unique costume—and it most certainly will be homemade. I am not a seamstress at all, but I do what I can with the skills I have.

Why I ride:

It is a safe, inexpensive and convenient way to travel downtown, especially during high traffic hours. I love how you do not have to stress in traffic and actually feel you are getting somewhere other than sitting on Highway 26.

Other forms of transportation I use:

I occasionally use the trolley and tram when I hike the 4T trail, but mostly I just use the MAX to get to and from downtown. It’s really nice for sporting events! I’ve been using my car to get to work, because I was only five minutes from work, but I just switched jobs and feel I will be utilizing the MAX much more.

My favorite things to do while riding:

I enjoy listening to music, reading articles, and sometimes the mere pleasure of people watching … Portland has quite a diverse community.

My advice to other riders:

Use the TriMet Trip Planner when figuring out your schedule. It is very helpful for creating realistic times in your travel.

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Why I Ride: F.X.

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Why I Ride - Francis

About me:

I started studying art full time around 2002. It was a career change for me, something that I needed to do. I’ve always been drawn to the arts and enjoy Portland’s vibrant art community.

Read The Oregonian feature about F.X.

Why I ride:

My number one reason for riding is that it makes sense! I’ve always been a public transportation supporter. Another important reason to ride for me is that, as an artist, I enjoy capturing images of people and landscapes as we ride along together to our destinations. I keep a small sketchbook in my pocket and patiently wait for moments that are hard to resist, and occasionally, I manage to capture just the right moment. TriMet  provides me with a “rolling studio” for doing quick sketches.

“My number one reason for riding is that it makes sense!”

I did a sabbatical in 1998-1999 from my university job and rode public transportation in 12 countries: New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, England, and Ireland.

One of the main reasons my wife and I decided on living in Portland was the public transportation system and infrastructure. Now it also makes economic sense to ride.

Other forms of transportation I use:

My wife and I are working our way up to riding bicycles again!

My favorite things to do while riding:

People watching (including drivers) and enjoying the scenery. Riding itself is a favorite activity of mine.

My advice to other riders:

Please be courteous to the drivers; it looks like a very tough job.

Here are some of the sketches of the more endearing moments F.X. captured while riding TriMet:

All images copyright Francis X. Rosica

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Why I Ride: Allison G.

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Why I Ride - Allison G

My story

My fiancé and I found love thanks to TriMet!

We both worked near the Hall/Nimbus WES stop and would ride the same WES and MAX trains home every day from Beaverton to Downtown Portland. We saw each other every afternoon on the WES platform for several months but never spoke because we were both always wearing headphones.

“My fiancé and I found love thanks to TriMet!”

In December 2009, there was an unforecasted afternoon snowstorm, and the weather provided the perfect icebreaker (no pun intended) for some initial conversation as we shivered and waited for our WES train. After that, we started chatting every day on our WES/MAX commute home (which was about 40 minutes each day). Two weeks later we had our first date, and two years later we got engaged. We’re getting married July 2013. Proof that you can find love on TriMet!

Allison and her fiancéWhy I ride:

I ride TriMet because I don’t have a car (and don’t want or need a car), and neither does my fiancé. We live downtown and both work along the MAX lines (I work at the 82nd Ave stop, and he works at the Hall/Nimbus WES stop). Having TriMet allows me to save money on transportation while still getting me (almost) everywhere I need to go.
Though I no longer ride WES, I ride MAX primarily and sometimes Portland Streetcar or the bus.

My favorite things to do while riding:

Look out the window or listen to music. I wish I could read, but I get motion sick easily, so I can’t read and I always have to sit facing forward.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

Honestly, the transportation options. Portland is one of the easiest cities to live in without having a car. I also like the Portland culture of sustainability and awareness for our environment.

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Why I Ride: Marcia R.

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Why I Ride - Marcia R

Why I ride:

I had a brain tumor in 2005 and have been on disability payments ever since. Due to my small income, I cannot afford to have a car. Vocational Rehab gives me a bus pass for school and other activities.

I buy Youth Passes for my daughters (ages 11 and 15) to use when they visit me on the weekends. They are pros at riding TriMet, and they don’t mind the MAX and the bus. They were very excited when the Green Line opened, because it cuts an hour off their trip to Clackamas Town Center. They love going there and to Washington Square. They also like going to the Millikan Way MAX Station and walking over to the Century Theater or taking the Line 52 from Willow Creek up to Evergreen Regal Cinemas and to Five Guys to eat burgers and fries for dinner.

“Due to my small income, I cannot afford to have a car.”

My favorite things to do while riding:

People watch and listen to my MP3 player.

My advice to other riders:

Use TransitTracker to check on bus and MAX arrivals. It is usually right.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

The fact that TriMet is almost everywhere!

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Why I Ride: David L.

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Why I Ride - David L

Why I ride:

TriMet is an essential part of my life and work. As a self-employed freelancer, I have no regular work schedule, but I ride a bus, MAX or the Portland Streetcar nearly every day. I started riding TriMet buses as soon as I arrived in Portland, more than 21 years ago. Shortly after Portland Car Share was launched in 2001, my wife and I became members, and not long after that, we donated our own car to the Oregon Humane Society. We have not owned a vehicle since, so I use TriMet to get nearly everywhere I can’t go on my legs and Zipcar for trips out of the city or to less accessible neighborhoods in the suburbs.

“I started riding TriMet buses as soon as I arrived in Portland, more than 21 years ago.”

About me:

Aside from acting on stage and in video and film projects, I do a lot of reading aloud. I’ve read literature to live audiences at Portland libraries, bookstores (including Powell’s and Borders), and even Umpqua Bank. Now and then a stranger on board recognizes me from one of my stage performances or my brief appearance as a Reaper on “Grimm” and will talk to me about that.

Each month, usually on the First Monday, I do my own solo reading, called “Story Time for Grown-ups” at Grendel’s Coffee House. My wife and I ride the Line 6 bus across the river to get there, and when the Portland Streetcar starts up on the east side, we’ll have that option as well.

My favorite things to do while riding:

Read a book. People watch. Observe the city. Write down things I observe and that cross my mind.

An interesting story from riding TriMet:

Early in 2010 I encountered Oregonian cartoonist Jack Ohman on the Line 12 bus at the far east end of its run. It was late on a weeknight, and I was coming home from a rehearsal for “King Lear” at Mt. Hood Community College. I chatted with him all the way into downtown. He was observing the riders and ended up drawing me in a strip that appeared in the paper several days later.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

The moderate yet variable weather, the beautiful natural setting, and the easy accessibility to the forest and rivers.

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Why I Ride: Jake F.

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Why I Ride - Jake F

Why I ride:

I ride TriMet for all of my work and personal needs, from seeing friends to going to the store. I use a wheelchair, and TriMet makes it easy to get around. I mostly like to use the MAX and Portland Streetcar because there is no hassle with getting on and off the vehicle.

“I ride TriMet for all of my work and personal needs, from seeing friends to going to the store.”

About me:

I enjoy going to Blazer games, movies, Downtown Portland and the Pearl District, among other places. My favorite things to do while riding are sleeping, playing Words with Friends, texting and people watching.

My advice to other riders:

Be patient! The doors have to remain closed for the ramp to work. Many people begin to panic even though they see I am waiting to get on or off the train. I often tell people to be patient because “since I am getting off the train you will too!” I’d also want to remind people to be courteous and allow wheelchairs to park in the appropriate spots.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

Portland has a great transportation system. It is easy to use the MAX to get to Washington Park, the Zoo and other wonderful places in the area.

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Why I Ride: Russell S.

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Why I Ride - Russel S

About me:

I bicycle daily, and I ride Yellow MAX and bus lines 4 and 35 regularly. I like to ride the bus to Pier Park to play disc golf.

“I find that I have more time to relax and think when I ride instead of being angry and frustrated that I am driving in traffic.”

Why I ride:

One of the main reasons my wife and I moved to Portland from the Midwest was public transportation. I ride my bike to work on a daily basis but love the freedom to hop on the bus or MAX whenever I want to go downtown for a Timbers game, to St. Johns for a movie, or to anywhere else in town for that matter. One of my favorite activities is showing Portland to my friends from out of town by bus and MAX. I will continue to be a proud rider for the rest of my life.

My favorite things to do while riding:

People watching.

My insight for non-riders:

Really think about what you are doing with that time you think you save by driving everywhere. I find that I have more time to relax and think when I ride instead of being angry and frustrated that I am driving in traffic.

The thing I like best about living in the Portland area:

Living in the Portland area. Really. We have it really good here.

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