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.”

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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 jonathan@bikeportland.org
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eawristeKittensJohn D.Scotchbreathmran1984 Recent comment authors
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eawriste
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eawriste

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?

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

One of mine will be: How will you accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and in this (soon to be) post-covid world, what other steps can you take to help shrink Portland’s emissions portfolio?

John D.
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John D.

While TriMet has been designated to manage contracts related to the Right Of Way of the Willamette River Trolley, it’s still actually owned by a consortium of local governments, so I don’t think that the TriMet GM (ignoring the TriMet Board) can unilaterally make that decision.

Also, there’s apparently language in the easements that the right of way runs on that require the use to be rail.

If we’re spit-balling crazy ideas, I’d like to see the Right-of-Way get used by the narrow-gauge Zoo Train, and run a path alongside the rails. This would allow the (apparently quite vocal) fans of the Zoo Train to keep their toy train running in the area, allow a trail along the Willamette (without breaking the easements), and free up the old Zoo Train right of way through Washington Park for a flat, car-free route through the hills.

eawriste
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eawriste

Why is it a crazy idea to build a rail-trail? The Springwater, Banks-Vernonia, CZ and future Salmonberry are all rail trails. People have no safe and easy way to get south to LO via walking or biking. Can you link to the easement?

John D.
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John D.

Sorry, that was poor wording on my part. I didn’t mean to suggest it was a crazy idea to create a trail along what is now the Willamette River Trolley. I think it would be a really good idea, and a much better use than the existing Trolley. I was referring to my idea of trying to move the Zoo train to the Willamette Shore Line.

Sadly, I don’t have a link to the actual Easements. I was going based on memories of the many articles and discussions (both here on Bikeportland and on the Portland Transport Blog) about this topic back when the Lake Oswego Streetcar proposal was failing. I found one Metro document looking at the idea of a trail between Lake Oswego and Portland. On page seven of this PDF, it says “Trail alignments adjacent to the Shore Line would require additional right-of-way acquisition, as well as securing or resolving easements for public use along the rail corridor.”

https://www.oregonmetro.gov/sites/default/files/2014/10/24/lo_pdx_trail-action_plan122010.pdf

eawriste
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eawriste

Thanks. Great info. So in practical terms we really only need to develop the section between the Sellwood Br and LO, and the only actual engineering parts are the two trestles. It remains really unclear why the 18′ tunnel proposes a “barrier.” Presumably it is sound or they wouldn’t allow the trolly through. The Willamette Trolly can also use the ROW all the way to Willamette park still.

I’d be interested to know if the easements are primarily at the trestles, ie the trestles themselves are property of govt agencies, but the land below them is not. Examining portlandmaps I have found a few private residences that appear to encompass the Shore Line ROW. This may be the real barrier: Political. A very small number of very large houses, whose property happen to encompass the trail ROW may be the only reason why we can’t get South.

SolarEclipse
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SolarEclipse

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.

Fred
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Fred

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

mran1984
Guest

Really? Nothing sexy about that pathetic excuse for a fender. It is intended for mountain biking. When you commute with it anyone unfortunate enough to get stuck behind you is sprayed right in the face. What is the point of keeping only your backpack clean? Full fenders or none at all!

Scotchbreath
Guest
Scotchbreath

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

Kittens
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Kittens

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.