2015 Holiday Events Guide

Who doesn’t love November? Sure, the brisk weather and short days can catch us off guard. But once we get past that, our holiday spirit begins to surface as we come together for food, family and festivals.

Here are 10 upcoming celebrations to get you started:

Macy’s Holiday Parade

Friday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m.
Downtown Portland

Shake off your post-stuffing stupor with a morning of grand floats, costumed characters (nearly 500 of them!) and local marching bands parading through Downtown.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Friday, Nov. 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Pioneer Courthouse Square

There’s a 75-foot tree in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square — you may have seen it — waiting to be lit for the holidays. As part of the ceremony, Thomas Lauderdale will lead members of Pink Martini, the Pacific Youth Choir, The von Trapps, and thousands of onlookers in a holiday sing-a-long. Come prepared: Download a copy of the songbook here.



Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Jan. 3
5–9 p.m.
5–8 p.m. on Value Nights
Oregon Zoo

There are 1.5 million lights on display at the Oregon Zoo’s annual winter festival, but that’s only one reason it’s so popular. This year, think “train” when you go to ZooLights — there’s a special Zoo Railway loop you won’t want to miss, plus big savings for anyone who takes MAX to the event.

Tip: The Sunset Transit Center Park & Ride often fills up on Blazers game nights — consider using a different lot if you’re planning to visit those evenings.

Holiday Ale Festival

Wednesday, Dec. 2–Sunday, Dec. 6
11 a.m.–10 p.m. most nights
Pioneer Courthouse Square

What would an events guide be without a beer festival? Keep warm by sampling more than 50 exclusive and rare brews, from Belgians to barleywines to porters and stouts. Keep your phone handy when you’re there, because the mobile version of the festival’s site will have up-to-the-second updates on beer tappings and locations.

Christmas Ships

Christmas Ships

Friday, Dec. 4–Sunday, Dec. 20
Parade on the Willamette and Columbia rivers, starting most nights at RiverPlace Marina

The first Christmas Ship sailed solo from the Portland Yacht Club back in 1954; now, nearly 60 boats light up the Willamette and Columbia rivers in what’s become a grand Portland tradition. If you’re taking in the spectacle this year, be sure to track the fleet on Twitter. And if you’re looking for a new vantage point, may we suggest Tilikum Crossing?

First Night at Director Park

Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.
Director Park

This year’s celebration of the first night of Chanukah features a special ice menorah (ice menorah!), music, latkes and activities for kids. It’s a community collaboration between Chabad of Oregon, the American Red Cross and Portland Fire & Rescue — pitch in by bringing travel-size toiletries to be given to VA Hospitals and Stand Downs, events providing supplies and services to homeless veterans.

Super Colossal Holiday Sale

Saturday, Dec. 12–Sunday, Dec. 13
11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Oregon Convention Center

Need to get gifts for your sister, grandfather, boss, best friend, neighbor, et cetera?

Try Crafty Wonderland’s Super Colossal Holiday Sale — you won’t be disappointed. With 60,000 square feet of handmade gifts, goodies, art and crafts from Northwest artisans (and beyond!), this is your one-stop holiday shop.

Portland Posada & Holiday Bazaar

Posada: Saturday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.
Holiday Bazaar: Saturday Dec. 12–Sunday, Dec. 20
Portland Mercado

Looking for something a little smaller than the Super Colossal sale, and with great food? Head to the Portland Mercado for the inaugural Portland Posada, an all-day craft fair with specialty food and drinks, a gift drive and musical performances.

What makes Posada even more special is that it’s tied to Latin American holiday traditions, and that it celebrates philanthropy and creative entrepreneurship. Plus, it marks the kickoff of the Holiday Bazaar, a nine-day pop-up gift shop in the heart of the Mercado.

Winter Village

Friday, Dec. 18–Sunday, Jan. 3
10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Orenco Station Plaza

Be the first to take the ice at the Winter Village, an open-air ice skating experience making its debut at the Orenco Station Plaza. Hop on MAX and you’ll be at the rink in no time — this one’s right across from the Orenco/NW 231st Ave Station!

Portland Winter Light Festival

Portland Winter Light Festival

Wednesday, Feb. 3–Sunday, Feb. 7
5–11 p.m.

In the bleak midwinter, a light! Or, actually, large-scale light sculptures, projections, performances, installations, from a dozen world-class artists. Taking cues from light festivals around the globe, the inaugural Portland Winter Light Festival aims to bring people together during a time of year typically reserved for the indoors.

Who couldn’t use an inspiring spectacle to celebrate light, life and warmth in February? Bundle up!

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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“Santa Bob” steps down from his sleigh

Our very own “Santa Bob” has delighted riders for nearly 30 years as he maneuvered his sleigh—er—bus through the streets of Hillsboro, Beaverton and Portland. But before this holiday season begins, Santa Bob, aka Bob Foster, will be turning in the reins of his Line 88 bus.

“Santa Bob” retires

After 34 years of operating a TriMet bus, Bob is retiring. A few years into his job behind the wheel, Bob, who resembles the jolly old elf, began moonlighting as Santa for TriMet employees and families across the Portland metro area. TriMet riders also enjoyed their brush with Santa!

“Sometimes kids will say to their parents, ‘Look it’s Santa!’” says Bob. “That’s a tremendous responsibility, because you’re a walking billboard.”

With Bob retiring, will this be the year without a TriMet Santa?!? Kids of all ages: never fear, it’s a TriMet “Santa Exchange”!

Santa Mark takes the reins!

Santa Bob is handing the reins of his 40-foot diesel powered “sleigh” to Santa Mark. Mark Larson has been a TriMet bus operator for 25 years. For the last two to three years, some riders on the lines 54 and 56 that travel through Beaverton, Tigard and Portland, have been doing a double-take due to Mark’s resemblance to St. Nick.

“I get quite a few comments ranging from, ‘You look like Santa,’ ‘Have you ever thought about playing Santa?’ ‘Mom, he looks like Santa! I told you he was real!'” says Mark.

Santa Mark (left) is ready to take the reins from Santa Bob (right), whose last day on the job is November 20.

What does it take to be a TriMet Santa?

Being a TriMet Santa takes driving skill, great customer service, a Santa-like appearance and a degree in SantaClausology. Both men have attended the International University of Santa Claus.  Santa Mark has his Bachelor of SantaClausology; Santa Bob has his Master of SantaClausology and is working on a Doctorate.

Santa Mark knows he has some big boots to fill.

“I never wanted to replace Santa Bob—in fact, you can’t replace him!” says Mark.  “As to taking over as TriMet’s Santa? All I can say is HO, HO. HO. Who needs a ride?”

Follow Santa Bob on Facebook, and check out Santa Mark’s website.

Roberta Altstadt

Roberta Altstadt

I’m TriMet’s public information officer. I communicate with the news media on all TriMet-related topics. When I’m not busy working, I like learning new skills, gardening, and going for walks with my sweet three-legged dog, Ernie.

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Alternatives to the MAX Orange Line Park & Rides

Commuters parking in nearby neighborhoods was never a big issue following the opening of previous MAX lines. But since the Orange Line opened in September, we’ve seen its two Park & Rides fill up quickly on weekday mornings, leading some drivers to find spots along residential streets.

The Park & Ride at the SE Park Ave MAX Station has quickly proven popular.
The Park & Ride at the SE Park Ave MAX Station has quickly proven popular.

It’s not that we didn’t want to offer more parking. After all, more commuters using a Park & Ride means more riders — and that’s a good thing! But faced with reducing the scope of the Orange Line project after federal funding was reduced from 60 percent to half, we decided to limit the size of the Park & Rides (while laying foundation for future expansion) and try our best to secure the funding later. This was just one of many cuts we had to make; unfortunately, even after the new line came in under budget, the Federal Transportation Administration didn’t allow these deferred items to be added back to the project.

(There’s a chance the savings will be returned to us — along with our local partners — in 2019, when the last phase of the project concludes.)

So while we anticipated that the Park & Rides would be popular, we also hoped the excellent network of bike routes, trails and transit connecting to the Orange Line would mitigate problems with packed parking garages. If you’re an Orange Line Park & Ride user, consider the following as ways to potentially save time, money and sanity.

Bike there (or walk!)
There are Bike & Rides at the Tacoma and Park Ave stations with plenty of secure and enclosed parking. Plus, both facilities are connected to great off-street trails (the Springwater Corridor and the Trolley Trail, respectively) and bike-friendly roads. Many bike commuters ride year-round; if you’re thinking of getting started now, check out the Community Cycling Center’s tips for riding in the rain.

There are a total of 146 secure and enclosed bike parking spaces at Orange Line Bike & Rides.
There are a total of 146 secure and enclosed bike parking spaces at Orange Line Bike & Rides.

Many buses serve Orange Line stations, either directly or via a nearby stop. For example, there are eight lines that stop at SE 21st & Jackson in Milwaukie, less than a quarter-mile from the Milwaukie/Main St Station. Try planning a trip to see how you can connect to MAX.

An alternate Park & Ride
The Milwaukie Park & Ride connects to the Orange Line via Line 34 — a quick one-mile trip will get you to MAX and on your way. Walking’s an option, too, and a great way to get fresh air and exercise before starting your day. And don’t forget: During commute hours, Line 99 will take you all the way into Downtown Portland.

Chances are a neighbor or coworker is headed the same way you are. Give carpooling a try and better your chances at getting a spot at the Park & Ride.

The Trolley Trail runs six miles between Gladstone and Milwaukie and connects to the SE Park Ave MAX Station.
The Trolley Trail runs six miles between Gladstone and Milwaukie and connects to the SE Park Ave MAX Station.

Be considerate if you park in the neighborhood
If you miss out on a spot at the Park & Ride and decide to park on a nearby residential street, keep it legal and be courteous. Please respect private property and don’t park in nearby lots. There are parking ordinances that apply (check out this helpful list from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office) and, just as importantly, neighbors’ feelings to consider. Neglecting these could earn you a costly citation or a nasty note.

The Orange Line has been successful because riders were willing to try something new. Changing our routines isn’t easy, but it often leads us to discover some great benefits, both for ourselves and our community. In that spirit, why not see if there’s a better option for your next commute?

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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Catch the Orange Art!

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to ride the new MAX Orange Line, but have you checked out the Orange Line public art? With 25 artworks, including over 200 individual elements, there’s plenty to explore! While most of the artwork is easily spotted, some of the pieces may take a little more effort to discover.  All of the artwork was created by 26 artists specifically for the 7.3-mile Orange Line.

For those of you who are interested in learning more, we’ve created a comprehensive MAX Orange Line Public Art Guide.

You must have heard about the colorful aesthetic lighting at night on Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, which corresponds to the conditions of the Willamette River. Did you also know that Kerf, the massive earth-cast sculptures at the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek MAX Station, were created right in the ground near where they currently stand? Or that the poems stamped in new concrete sidewalks adjacent to all of the stations could have been written by your neighbor?

Do you know how many sculptures along the Trolley Trail, near the SE Park Ave Station, are made from the trees that were removed to build that portion of the trail? What do you think might have inspired the artist to create movement in her glass painting of Crystal Springs at the SE Bybee Station?

(Courtesy: Todd Trigsted)

These and lots of other fun facts can be found in the Art Guide. We’ve also created a MAX Orange Line Art Brochure that provides a quick reference. Print copies of both are available at the Pioneer Square Ticket office or by request to publicart@trimet.org.

Of course, there’s no substitute for experiencing art in person! We hope you will ride the MAX Orange Line to catch the incredible variety of artwork firsthand and learn more about our community along the way.

Michelle Traver

Michelle Traver

As TriMet’s Public Art Administrator, I commission original artwork for our transit system to create connections to the communities we serve and celebrate our shared humanity. I’ve been a TriMetian for over 10 years!

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Light Parade Group Bike Ride [VIDEO]

Last night, the Light Parade Group Bike Ride lit up Pioneer Courthouse Square and Base Camp Brewing. We saw lots of smiles, plenty of cool bikes and all kinds of lights and reflectors. As we proceeded over Tilikum Crossing, through the cold and dark, we showed that riding safely and comfortably isn’t a chore. It can actually be fun!

Thanks to everyone who joined us — it was great to see you. (Get it?)

We lit up Pioneer Courthouse Square and Base Camp Brewing Company last night! 󾟫✨Thank you to everyone that came out—It was great to SEE you!For tips on dressing bright morning and night check out trimet.org/beseen.

Posted by TriMet on Thursday, November 12, 2015


Also, thanks to our friends from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance for helping us out and leading the ride, and to North St Bags, REI, Portland Juice Co. and A Better Cycle for bringing the party.

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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Say hello to Hop Fastpass

It’s great to have options — especially when it comes to transportation.

That’s why we designed Hop Fastpass™, the new electronic fare system arriving in 2017, with flexibility in mind. Hop Fastpass will work with a fare card, smartphone (using our app or services like Apple Pay, Android Pay and likely Samsung Pay) or your credit/debit card. Plus it can get you aboard TriMet, C-TRAN and Portland Streetcar. How’s that for choices?

Say hello to HopHop will make paying your fare easier, faster and more convenient!myhopcard.comHere’s how it’ll work:

Posted by TriMet on Thursday, September 24, 2015


How it will work
  1. Get Hop Fastpass. We’re expanding our retail network by leaps and bounds, so you’ll be able to find Hop cards at 500 neighborhood markets, grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies — just look in the gift card rack.
  2. Load value. You can add funds to your Hop Fastpass card anytime via myhopcard.com, using the smartphone app, at transit ticket offices or a participating retailer. Or just give us a call!
  3. Register your card (recommended). Sign up online or over the phone to get all the benefits of Hop Fastpass and to make sure your balance is protected in case you lose your card. You can even have funds auto-load when your balance is running low.
  4. Tap and go! Just touch your card to the Hop Fastpass reader on board the bus/Streetcar or at the MAX/WES platform, and you’re on your way!
We think you’ll love it

If you’ve ever used e-fare systems on transit in other cities, like ORCA in Washington or the Clipper Card in the Bay Area, you probably know about the benefits of going contactless. Once you’ve registered your Hop Fastpass card you’ll be able to manage your account and set up features like automatic reloading — a worry-free option that means your card won’t run out of fare.

Hop Fastpass can also save you money (especially if you’re a frequent rider). You’ll be able to pay your way toward a monthly pass, one ride at a time — if you commute more than 20 days that month (or fewer if you’re paying Youth or Honored Citizen fares), you’ll ride free until the next month, but you’ll never pay for rides you don’t use.

TriMet Tickets app users know about the luxury of going cash-free, which will continue with Hop Fastpass. (No more searching for exact change or crumpled paper tickets!) We’ll still accept cash on buses, MAX platform ticket machines and the Portland Streetcar — remember, it’s all about options.


It’s for everyone

Regular riders might get the most out of Hop Fastpass, but there’s something in it for everyone. Features like lost-card protection mean your balance is safe even if your card goes missing, and automatic reloading will even benefit infrequent riders when they don’t have to worry about a low balance. Riders without bank accounts can use Hop, too, and manage their fare card using cash at the 500 stores in our retail network.

Used to getting a pass through work or school? Hop Fastpass cards will be available for employers and institutions, too.

By now you’ve probably started to think about how you’ll use Hop Fastpass, and you’ve probably got some questions. Head over to myhopcard.com to learn more about how it will work and sign up for email updates (especially if you’re interested in being a beta tester).

Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker

As Director of Revenue Operations, I lead our agency’s efforts to modernize our fare collection systems. My goal is to provide excellent and efficient service while maintaining reliable, easy-to-use equipment.

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Shuttle connects you in Hillsboro—and it’s free!

There’s a new bus shuttle that now serves North Hillsboro, connecting people to jobs, education, community services and events. Best of all, it’s free!

Ride Connection, Washington County, the City of Hillsboro and the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to offer this service, officially called North Hillsboro Link.


This shuttle is perfect for commuters going to and from Orenco Station where you can connect with the MAX Blue Line or with bus Line 47-Baseline/Evergreen.

In addition to the Hillsboro Chamber partnership, the service was made possible by Federal Transit Administration funds along with the guidance of the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team and ODOT. The Hillsboro shuttle offers service to major employers such as Intel, Radisys, FEI and Reser’s Fine Foods, among many others. Service begins at 5:29 a.m. and lasts until almost 7 p.m. All shuttles also have bike racks and wheelchair-accessible lifts.

See the full schedule and route map

This is all part of our grand plan, especially on the Westside, to offer shuttles in areas where our ridership can’t support regular bus service. Did you know there are already two other free shuttles in Tualatin and Forest Grove?

Flexible routes

Don’t worry, shuttle drivers won’t pass you by. If you’re along the route and not near a designated stop, simply signal to the driver to stop. You also can request stops along the route when boarding, along with being picked up or dropped off outside the route for one leg of the trip. It’s best to schedule these off-route stops in advance. Just call our friends at Ride Connection at 503-226-0700.

Weather and holiday schedules

On days with severe weather such as ice or snow, shuttle schedules may follow snow routes and all service may be suspended until the weather improves.

The shuttles don’t run on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

In the future, we hope to add more shuttles like this in the metro area. Stay tuned!

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Huh? What’s an “all-electric” hybrid?

Now on the streets—you might find yourself aboard one of our newest all-electric hybrids! This next-generation of hybrids is designed to be our most efficient for fuel and emissions.

Thanks to a $2.5 million federal grant, we were able to purchase four of these buses, which are similar to a Toyota Prius—just a smidge bigger. Here’s how they work: a diesel engine powers a generator, which starts the bus and electrifies the energy storage system. The electric-traction motor then turns the wheels.


It’s a hybrid—but electric!

“All-electric hybrid” may sound contradictory. These hybrids, though, are different and have even more awesome features than the last four we launched into service in 2012.

Everything on them can be electrically powered 100 percent—and for up to two miles! (Our older hybrids can’t do this because the diesel engine powers the hydraulic steering and air compressor.) If there’s not enough energy stored in the battery, the generator starts and uses the diesel engine, which also recharges the battery.

Another cool feature is what’s called Stop/Start Drive. As the bus slows to about 8 mph—and as long as the lithium-ion battery has enough juice—the engine shuts off and the battery takes over.

During shut-off, the bus’ accessories—such as the lights, air compressor, hydraulic steering and air conditioning—are battery-powered. As the bus leaves a stop and moves faster than 10 mph, the engine starts again.


These buses use regenerative braking, too. This means when the brakes are applied, kinetic energy is captured and can be used immediately or stored in the battery for later use. The batteries also provide acceleration power.

Good gas mileage, low emissions

We won’t know until they’ve been in service for a while, but we expect these new hybrids to get at least 6 miles per gallon … just like our other four hybrids. In comparison, our newer fleet of standard buses get between 4.5 and 5 miles per gallon. In a 50,000-mile stretch, our all-electric hybrids would use about 1,719 fewer gallons of fuel when compared to our standard diesel buses. At over 50,000 miles, this saves about $4,000 worth of fuel!

The diesel engines on our newest hybrids also run even cleaner, as they comply with 2013 EPA regulations as opposed to the less-strict standards from 2010.

We’re often asked about getting more hybrid, electric, biogas or compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. We’re considering all of these quickly-evolving technologies, but as we test them, we look for cost-effectiveness of a bus’ entire lifecycle before making wholesale changes to the fleet.

Shhhhh …

And they’re quieter than our other buses. They’ll still make some noise, but we’ve never put a bus on the streets that’s basically as loud as a typical passenger car. Folks who are visually impaired will still be able to hear it.

Down the road

We’ll watch how our newest hybrid buses perform on the streets to see if we’ll buy more of them. Battery technology continues to improve and buses are being tested that can go 200 to 300 miles (wow!) without a recharge. These hybrids just may be great transition toward all-electric buses in the future.

Andrew Longeteig

Andrew Longeteig

I’m TriMet’s Communications Coordinator. I share what’s happening at the agency with the media and general public. When I’m not working, I’ll either be watching the Blazers or at a rock concert.

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Commemorating Back to the Future Day

TriMet to the Future

Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled through time to October 21, 2015 in Back to the Future Part II. When they arrived they were greeted by flying cars, hoverboards and sneakers that tied themselves. And, stretching the limits of the imagination, the Cubs won the World Series.

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” – Emmett Lathrop “Doc” Brown, Ph.D

While we still have a ways to go before living up to 1989’s dream of the future, it’s fun to think about the progress we have made. So when the opportunity arose to commemorate #backtothefutureday, we had to do it — thanks to PDX-DMC and the Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club for the assist!

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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Now streaming: All Classical Portland’s Tili-Cam

Prepare to be mesmerized.

Our friends at All Classical Portland set up a 24/7 live video stream of Tilikum Crossing from the rooftop of their eastside digs.

So dramatic!

Some things you might see when you tune in:

  • MAX, buses and Portland Streetcars (bonus points if you spot combos)
  • Cyclists
  • Pedestrians (bonus points if you spot a selfie)
  • The bridge’s pioneering aesthetic lighting program
  • Tilly the Tili-Cam spider

Plus, you can listen to the live audio stream of All Classical Portland while you watch!

Watch live: All Classical Portland’s Tili-Cam

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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