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Broad advocacy coalition pushes to influence TriMet GM hire

Posted by on January 25th, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Bike, bus, or both, we all need TriMet to have good leadership.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Getting There Together (GTG) coalition has turned up the volume on their efforts to influence who TriMet picks to be their next general manager.

The coalition — which has dozens of members including biking and walking-related nonprofits like The Street Trust, Oregon Walks, Oregon Trails Coalition, WashCo Bikes, and the Community Cycling Center — is urging the public to join them and testify at the TriMet Board Meeting on Wednesday. The meeting agenda (PDF) includes Resolution 21-0149 that calls for, “Adopting a General Manager Job Description and Informing the Public of the General Manager Search Committee and Appointment Procedure.”


A formidable coalition.

Earlier this month we shared how the coalition wasted no time laying out qualities they’d like to see in the person who will replace outgoing GM Doug Kelsey. The group also wants to make sure the selection process itself is transparent and done with, “meaningful participation from community members.”

This is the first major campaign for GTG following three years of work to influence Metro’s transportation funding measure. That effort didn’t go their way, but the coalition-building that remains is likely to be a powerful force in local advocacy going forward.

Here’s a snip from GTG’s latest call to action:

“It’s essential that the next General Manager will heed the calls from the community for access, service improvements, affordability, and addressing climate change. They must also address racial justice in policing and in our transportation system, by exploring the call for presence of culturally-specific and unarmed TriMet employees on transit and following through on stopping fare sweeps, and moving resources away from policing and toward community programs…

With the recent failure of Measure 26-218, these needs remain and it is all the more urgent that our region can count on leadership at TriMet to collaborate with community leaders on a bold vision to address needs and tackle decades of disinvestment in a regional transportation system.

People who actually use the system must have a say in the process and decision of who is hired to manage our regional transit system. It must include those whose livelihoods depend on whether the bus gets to work on time. It must include all of us who have a stake in the health of our transportation system, our communities, and our future.”

TriMet’s Board Meeting begins at 9:00 am on Wednesday (1/27). Link to the livestream and meeting materials can be found on the BikePortland Calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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One of my litmus test questions would be: Will you allow Metro to build a trail along the ROW owned by Tri-met and currently operated by the Willamette Trolley?


bold vision to address needs and tackle decades of disinvestment in a regional transportation system

Seems like the only disinvestment has been by TriMet itself in reducing Bus service in favor of Trains which are very limited in their service footprint.


Your photo gets my vote for “sexiest Portland bike photo” ever! Good work by both photographer and model. 🙂


This website is full of the biggest wet blankets.tri met owes nothing to you stains. Clearly you have no idea what goes on on the buses and trains we need so much more armed security to keep the drivers and passengers safe and maybe even stop the consistent violence defecation and sexualized assaults that happen on these vehicles. Tri met needs a GM that’ll support its employees that have kept each and every bus and train moving even during these dangerous times not someone to pander to whiners like you. The contributors to this website are some of the worst parts of Portland outside of the junky thieves out there


God help us.
This “coalition” seems like the embodiment of virtue signaling and identity politics. We need the next GM of TriMet to be bold, forward thinking and realistic about the enormous challenges facing the agency. Not a token minority hire who promises rainbows and unicorns. This city is going off the rails.

TriMet has an abysmal farebox recovery ratio, practically zero enforcement of code, gives away passes like they were candy and pushes out millions of dollars of feel-good messaging about how inclusive and welcoming it is to anyone of any color, creed or socioeconomic status. What more do these people want? Seems like a bunch of out of touch special-interest groups venue shopping for a grievance.

BTW, these folks would be better served by shaking up the TriMet board, which is pathetic and uninformed, that is where the real action is.