Get around Oregon without a car with this handy transit guide

A Lincoln County Transit bus with a bike rack in Yachats. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Memorial Day weekend is here, which means the summer travel season has officially begun. Summers in Oregon are gorgeous (albeit occasionally smoky) and there are so many places to explore.

If you think a day brewery-hopping in Bend or hiking at the Oregon coast is only accessible by car, think again! It’s possible to see a lot of Oregon’s scenery without driving yourself there.

In case you missed it, we’ve recreated a comprehensive guide from TriMet that details all the ways to reach destinations throughout the state using transit. Scroll down to find your destination of choice, then see how to use transit to get there…


Oregon Coast: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach

Take: The POINT bus’s Northwest route. POINT is a coach bus service managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Where to connect:

From Downtown Portland at Union Station — Connect via MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines and bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, 17, and 77, which all stop a few blocks away.

From Beaverton at Sunset Transit Center — Connect via MAX Blue and Red lines, and bus lines 20, 48, 50, 59, 62.

From Hillsboro at Tanasbourne Town Center — Connect via lines 47, 48, 52.

More info on POINT’s Northwest route.


Columbia Gorge: Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, the Dalles

Take: Columbia Area Transit’s Columbia Gorge Express. Columbia Area Transit is the public transit agency for Hood River County.

Where to connect:

From Portland at Gateway Transit Center. Connect via MAX Blue, Green and Red lines and bus lines 15, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 87.

More info on the Columbia Gorge Express.

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Willamette Valley: Woodburn, Salem, Albany, Eugene

Take: The POINT bus’s Cascade route.

Where to connect:

From Downtown Portland at Union Station. Connect via MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines and bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, 17, and 77, which all stop a few blocks away.

From Tualatin at Tualatin Park & Ride. Connect via lines 36, 37, 38, 76, 96.

More info on POINT’s Cascade route.


Central Oregon: Bend, Redmond

Take: Central Oregon Breeze, a private bus service with regular service between Portland and central Oregon.

Where to connect:

From Gresham at Cleveland Ave MAX station. Connect via MAX Blue Line. Bus lines 2, 9, 20, 21 80, 81, 82, 84 stop nearby.

From Portland International Airport. Connect via MAX Red Line.

From Downtown Portland at Union Station. Connect via MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines and bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, 17, and 77, which all stop a few blocks away.

More info on Central Oregon Breeze.

Another option:

Take: Shuttle Oregon, private bus service with regular service between Portland and central Oregon. This service also stops in Sisters.

Where to connect:

From Downtown Portland at Union Station. Connect via MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines and bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, 17, and 77, which all stop a few blocks away.

More info on Shuttle Oregon.


Salem

Take: Cherriots route 1X. Cherriots is Salem’s public transit agency.

Where to connect:

From Wilsonville at the Wilsonville WES Station.

More info on Shuttle Oregon.

More info on Cherriots route 1X.

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West of Portland on the Columbia River: Scappoose, St. Helens, Rainier, Astoria

Take: Sunset Empire Transportation District’s Lower Columbia Connector. Sunset Empire Transportation District is the public transit agency for Clatsop County.

Where to connect:

From Downtown Portland at Union Station. Connect via MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines and bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, 17, and 77, which all stop a few blocks away.

More info on the Lower Columbia Connector.


Yamhill County: Newberg, Dundee, McMinnville

Take: Yamhill County Transit, the public transit agency for Yamhill County.

Where to connect:

From Tigard at Tigard Transit Center. Connect via WES and bus lines 12, 45, 64, 76, 78, 94.

From Cornelius via Line 57.

From Hillsboro at Hillsboro Central Transit Center. Connect via MAX Blue Line and bus lines 46, 47 48, 57.

More info on Yamhill County Transit.


Tillamook

Take: Tillamook County Transportation District’s Tillamook-Portland Coastliner route. Tillamook County Transportation District is the public transit agency for Tillamook County.

Where to connect:

From Downtown Portland at Union Station. Connect via MAX Green, Orange and Yellow lines and bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, 17, and 77, which all stop a few blocks away.

From Beaverton at Sunset Transit Center. Connect via MAX Blue and Red lines, and bus lines 20, 48, 50, 59, 62.

From Hillsboro at Tanasbourne Town Center. Connect via lines 47, 48, 52.

More info on the Tillamook-Portland Coastliner.


Columbia County: Scappoose and St. Helens

Take: Columbia County Rider, the public transit agency for Columbia County.

Where to connect:

From Downtown Portland on SW Salmon between 5th and 6th avenues. Connect via MAX Blue, Green, Orange, Red and Yellow lines and bus lines 1, 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 30 35, 36, 44, 51, 54, 56, 94, 99.

More info on the Columbia County Rider.

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Wilsonville

Take: SMART (South Metro Area Rapid Transit). SMART is Wilsonville’s public transit agency.

Where to connect:

From Wilsonville at the Wilsonville Station on WES.

From Wilsonville via Line 96.

From Tualatin at Tualatin Park & Ride. Connect via lines 36, 37, 38, 76, 96.

More info on SMART.


Sandy

Take: Sandy Area Metro (Fareless SAM). Sandy Area Metro is Sandy’s public transit agency.

Where to connect:

From Gresham via Gresham Transit Center. Connect via MAX Blue Line and bus lines 2, 9, 20, 21, 80, 81, 82, 84.

From Estacada via bus line 30.

More info on Sandy Area Metro.


Canby

Take: Canby Area Transit’s route 99X. Canby Area Transit is Canby’s public transit agency.

Where to connect:

From Oregon City at Oregon City Transit Center. Connect via bus lines 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 79, 99, 154.

More info on Canby Area Transit.


Vancouver, Washington

Take: C-TRAN. C-TRAN is Vancouver, Washington’s public transit agency. It also connects to Skamania County Public Transit, which will take you to Carson, Stevenson, North Bonneville and more.

Where to connect:

You can catch C-TRAN lines 190, 157, 134, 199, 105, 164, 65 and 67 from various locations in Downtown Portland (along the Transit Mall), Parkrose Transit Center, Gateway Transit Center, Rose Quarter Transit Center and Lloyd Center.

More info on C-TRAN.

***

Thanks to TriMet for putting all this information together. Enjoy the long weekend!

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Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

For those of you who want a hastily made, incomplete map of these routes (data from OpenStreetMap – didn’t see anything for the POINT bus unfortunately and left out a few city-level services (Bend, Corvallis, Trimet)), I made a quick Google MyMap of it:

Allan Rudwick
1 month ago

It feels like someone should make a map (or give a pointer to an existing one) w/ this information for those of us who are more visual

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Rudwick

This map is pretty good for the routes out to the coast: https://www.nworegontransit.org/

Jeff S
Jeff S
1 month ago
Reply to  Allan Rudwick

I entirely agree. PBOT website used to have one for NW Oregon, but doesn’t seem to be around anymore.

kbrosnan
kbrosnan
1 month ago

Amtrak Cascades – Connects Eugene, Albany, Salem, Oregon City, Portland, Vancouver, WA and points north to Vancouver, BC

Laura
Laura
1 month ago
Reply to  kbrosnan

As of May, 2021, the service north of Seattle is by bus, and there is no service to Vancouver, BC.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  kbrosnan

No service planned north of Seattle until at least December. The bus option to BC really sucks due to the border crossing.

9watts
1 month ago

This is a topic of immense interest to me. But the devil is in the details. I’ve tried for fifteen years to figure out clever ways to cover distances with public transit here in Oregon. Pretty frustrating overall.
The Trimet 96 to Wilsonville used to intersect with the Cherriots 1X, offering a straightforward and cheap two-leg way to get from downtown Portland to downtown Salem. But then about eight years ago they added a (free) shuttle in Wilsonville which complicated matters. It still works, but if you have other feeder lines on both ends ( I did) going from four sequential buses to five seemed like a gratuitous complication.

Yamhill County Transit is an unmitigated disaster. They have a spoke system radiating out from McMinnville. Makes all kinds of sense. If you want to go from, for instance, the Hillsboro MAX to West Salem they run two busses that meet in McMinnville. Except they don’t meet. You have to wait hours… to make the connection. I waged a polite but persistent battle with them for years, even got county commissioners involved. To no avail. Perhaps they have done something about this in the meantime? I gave up about six years ago.

And don’t get me started on trying to get from Portland to Enterprise, OR.
Greyhound runs one bus out of Portland to/from LaGrande per day. Wallowa Country runs a shuttle from Enterprise to LaGrande. Sounds promising right? Ha! You have to wait 22hours in LaGrande to make the connection!!!!

With friends like these transportation schedulers who needs enemies?

What to do?
Why do the folks in charge of these decisions not understand the value of coordinating with other transit agencies? Why do they stonewall, obfuscate, show zero interest in this subject?

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  9watts

Maybe the chicken and egg type thing . . .
Someone won’t fund these alternate transportation modes because there’s not enough riders . . .
Potential riders don’t want to use these alternate transportation modes (like you found) because they aren’t very good at getting people from Point A to Point B. . .

9watts
1 month ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Except coordinating schedules doesn’t require funding. It requires thinking, which one might have thought those people were already being paid to do. Grrrr.

My takeaway is that transit, despite the ballyhoo, just isn’t really a priority, like say air travel or highway reader boards, which get tens of millions thrown at them without anyone even asking for the millions.

Jason McHuff
1 month ago
Reply to  9watts

Re Wilsonville, SMART’s routes (your “shuttle”) have existed for a long time. You’ve always been able to get off the 96 at Tualatin Park and Ride and take SMART’s route which is much faster since it uses I-5 instead of serving local stops in Tualatin. SMART did have a wholly-separate fare for it for many years, but it has been eliminated.

What did change is that the 1X only goes to Wilsonville Station. But the upside is that things are now timed (at least before WES was reduced). Instead of trying to match up the 96 to the 1X, you can go right from MAX to WES to the 96. Taking MAX/WES through Beaverton is only a few minutes longer than the 96 and SMART from Tualatin (I don’t have the full-96 routing on there).

Also, there has been some coordination improvements on the coast and possibly elsewhere, partly due to new statewide transit tax. For example, it’s now a one-seat ride up Hwy 30 (in a motor coach) to Astoria. Previously, this route took two mini-buses and one was suspended for a time. There’s also connections (I think timed ones) on 101 from Astoria all the way to south Lincoln County.

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor
Reply to  Jason McHuff

Jason, if you want repost this as a top level comment, I can pin it to the top of comments section. I can’t pin replies.

9watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Jason McHuff

I’m aware of the MAX-WES-1X option, but living in SE Portland, I could never justify going through Beaverton to get to Salem. I’m also not at all sure about what you say about the duration. The 96 is lickety split.

Good to hear that there are some improvements showing up. I’m all for that. But what makes my head and heart hurt is when people whose job it is to make transit work for all of us,
don’t think,
don’t listen, &
don’t make sound decisions.

Todd/Boulanger
1 month ago

Taylor, thanks for including CTRAN!

Susan Cotter
Susan Cotter
1 month ago

Another for the “devil’s in the details”:

I was totally jazzed about trying this until I discovered my Electra beach cruiser isn’t within allowable dimensions for me to go to the beach. Really?

Amtrak Allowed limits/dimensions: Bicycles up to 50 lbs. and 70″ x 41″ x 8.5″

Electra Beach Cruiser Bike: 49 pounds stripped, 75” x 47” x 15”

Same with city busses, bikes come in all sizes but mine is outside the guidelines for pdx city buses; my wheel base too long by an inch or two.

Just another challenge encountered after going car-free 14 months ago. It’s what I wNt to be, but as Kermit says, “It’s hard to br green”.

James Calhoon
James Calhoon
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan Cotter

I didn’t realize going green meant you had to pedal around a 50 pound bicycle. I do understand that your e-bike allows you to be car free in Portland. When using a bicycle for travel I can see other issues than the transit restrictions you brought up. Things like being able to charge at your destination. I have been able to keep my bike inside my hotel rooms, but several times it required me to carry it up stairs. I think for travel a non electrical bike could work better. I am 62 and still able to ride my 1989 Centurion (Frameset) long distances.

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  James Calhoon

I’ve noticed this trend too. All of a sudden everything has to accommodate electric bikes. Even the biggest and clunkiest. Motorcycles next?

David Hampsten
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan Cotter

The Amtrak dimension and weight limits are for trains that have a baggage car and/or a specialized multi-bike storage space on a larger car. Typically you lift the bike up to an attendant who then hangs up the bike – both you and the attendant need a bike light enough to lift without causing injury.

The Northeast Regional trains also allow bikes, but they have no baggage car, so you the passenger have to not only pay your $20 fee but also do all the lifting – up the steep stairs, turn 90 degrees down a narrow passage way, then hang up your bike on a hook that requires you to remove your front wheel (plus your front rack, both pedals, front fenders, that long seat post of yours, your bags, and so on) while lots of other passengers are jostling to get on board – and then do it all again in reverse when you get to your destination. Not fun. The Acela trains ban bicycles altogether.

Lice Charmers
1 month ago

Are there any tax deductions available for companies that subsidize their employees transit or maybe even buy bikes or pay for their bike maintenance?

Thanks,

Conor
Lice Charmers – Lice Removal Portland

ivan
ivan
1 month ago

You mention NW Connector routes in a couple of places, but not mentioned is that they have routes up and down the coast, not just from the Portland area:

https://www.nworegontransit.org

If you’re staying in, say, Manzanita, it is quite helpful to know you can catch a bus down to Tillamook or up to Cannon Beach. And NW Connector routes are more frequent than the POINT routes from Cannon Beach to Seaside and Astoria.

Mark McClure
1 month ago

Thanks, Taylor.

I appreciate TriMet’s effort to tie together the disparate schedules (data) from the Oregon transit systems. I agree with other BP readers who think a visual trip planner would be helpful.

Given the statewide reach, I’m curious if ODOT has made any attempts to do what TriMet has done? If they haven’t done so, I’m curious to know why not.

If ODOT doesn’t have the needed in-house IT/GIS expertise, perhaps they could source the work to logistics experts. USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx, etc. come to mind.

If agencies and companies such as these know how to ship a product from Point A to Point B, I assume they have logistics models that could be adapted to “shipping” people rather than parcels. I also assume there could be intermittent supply-chain issues 😉

I detest driving anywhere anymore, so the solution for me is personal. I’ve got a buddy who previously worked at ODOT and UPS, so I might also ask him what he thinks. Gary, if you read this, please ping me.