More Egg on Tri-Met’s Face

The violence is continuing on Portland area trains and buses, and Tri-Met is still oscillating between sticking its head in the sand, and offering “solutions” that are anything but. In this week alone, there have been two attacks on Tri-Met buses. In one, a driver was assaulted after confronting a non-paying rider. In another, a man attacked passengers with a knife.

In the meantime, Portland officials say that Tri-Met security is woefully inadequate, and the agency itself admits that it has yet to conduct a study determining how many officers would be required to adequately patrol the system.

And, in a mea culpa, Tri-Met has backed off on its plan to reduce or eliminate fareless square, admitting that it had no evidence to suggest that the fare-free area led to any increase in crime on the system, or had anything to do with recent attacks in Gresham and Hillsboro. The agency conducted a public hearing on the issue, which was well attended by the community, but was apparently not so well attended by the top brass at Tri-Met.

I’m left wondering – just what is it going to take for Tri-Met to get serious about security?

9 Comments so far

  1. Mike (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 11:08 am

    Wow, this is scary. I live and work downtown with easy access to busses, Max, and the streetcar but almost always walk because of stories like this. I can easily hop the Max to get to the east side, but I always end up driving because I realize I’ll be coming back at night on Tri-Met. No thanks….and I hope they get their act together before something really tragic happens.

  2. Nathan Sheets (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 11:23 am

    I just hope that if security guards are brought on they will be armed, so that they can actually do some good should a security problem arises.

  3. brewcaster (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 11:25 am

    I understand that something should be done. But I also feel like it is being presented like there is no other place violent crimes happen in Portland. I don’t know statistics, but I am going to guess that these types of crimes also occur off Trimet.
    -Just another person not offering a solution

  4. tenstringesquire (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 11:40 am


    I don’t think anybody’s saying that these types of crimes are unique to Tri-Met. Stabbings and assaults occur outside the system, too. The difference is two-fold:

    1. It’s much more difficult to monitor and police every street and alley in Portland than it is to monitor a limited number of contained vehicles. Further, when you are paying money to ride those vehicles, it’s not unreasonable to assume that there’s some kind of plan in place to protect the riders.

    2. There is a plan in place to combat street crime in Portland. It’s not perfect, but it’s there. Tri-Met has admitted that it has conducted absolutely zero studies on how many officers it would require to adeqately police its system. Essentially, it has no plan.

    That said, I still ride Tri-Met every day and will continue to do so. I’ve had some shaky moments, but have never felt physically threatened. But I personally (and this is just my own opinion – yours may vary) find Tri-Met’s attitude towards increasing crime on its system to be cavalier and borderline negligent.

  5. brewcaster (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

    Very well put Ten. I think point #2 sways me the most. Let’s hope something changes.

  6. Get it right (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

    When will you people get it straight? The correct spelling is “TriMet”! If you’re so thorough with checking your facts, at least get the name of the agency correct!


  7. brewcaster (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

    geez louise

  8. Justin (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 7:53 pm

    In the most recent attack, what could have realistically been done to prevent the attack?

    Unless there is to be an armed security officer on each and every bus (which I don’t think is fiscally possible) I don’t see how you can prevent an attack like that.

    The driver, halted the bus, and evacuated it. If someone is intent on hurting someone else, I’m not sure how you stop them.

    I ask this question with 100% sincerity; what could anyone have done to prevent a gang-related knife attack on the bus?

  9. BJC (unregistered) on January 24th, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

    I think more trouble happens after you get off a bus or train rather then when you’re on it, so put resources into securing station areas. Clean that up and the ride takes care of itself.

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