Ugh, TriMet

As you well know by now, there was a couple of serious incidents on Yellow line MAX in the past week.  Both incidences involved groups of teens attacking or intimidating passengers.  I have usually been a defender of MAX as I think it is one of the best Portland decisions of the past 25 years.  But wow, you would think that after all the negative publicity last winter that TriMet would have maybe figured it out.  They need security on the train!  Plain and simple.

Yet, in this past week’s incident at Prescott Station (where I embark and disembark daily) leaves me realing.  I’m angry with TriMet, but I’m also angry with my fellow commuters.  Yes you, the person sitting there hiding while some young punk starts beating up a woman.  In this most recent incident, a Vancouver woman came to the defence of another rider and was attacked.  I praise her as a hero for standing up against these jackasses.  Yet, as a result, she was injured.  I know for a fact these two women were not the only riders on that train.  6:30pm?  Give me a break.  How many other riders on that train just sat there and watched or moved away from the frackas because they didn’t want to get involved?  People, there are more of us than them and my experience has taught me that if more people confront an issue like this, it will get defused.  Portlanders should have come to the defence of this woman and helped her out.  We’re all in this together.

Let me leave you with this thought regarding the next time something like this begins to transpire.  When you see the aftermath of a disaster or where a group of strangers have been affected by forces out of their control, do you ignore it?  Do you put your head in the sand?  Or do you react and do something to try to help them – donate food, blood, money, blankets etc?  If you are one of those who do rise up to help out these strangers, why aren’t you helping out the person next to you.  They need is just as much.

12 Comments so far

  1. misterviddy on June 13th, 2008 @ 10:02 am

    I must agree that I find it hard to believe that there were no other able bodied adults present when this attack occurred. I understand that people are hesitant to place themselves in danger but from what I gather, the attackers were a group of punk kids and if more people had come to the aid of this poor lady I can’t see that these cowardly kids would have put up much of a fight.

    I can’t say for certain what I would have done in this situation but I’d like to think that I am a decent enough person that I would have made some effort to assist someone in need.

    Unfortunately the responsibility for all of this falls squarely on the shoulders of TriMet. They know that they are not doing enough to provide a safe environment for their riders. Rather than admitting to the problem I continually see them dodge the subject and cling to the story that every time an attack occurs it is an isolated incident.

  2. penthesilea on June 13th, 2008 @ 10:20 am

    I used to be more likely to jump in on these sorts of things. My indignation/outrage tended to out pace my self preservation instinct. Now that I have a little one who is with me every time I’m on TriMet, I just keep a low profile. I guess I’m not setting a very good example for him.

  3. rgmdb on June 13th, 2008 @ 10:28 am

    I watched the surveillance video and I noticed that one of the kids was holding the door open for quite a while, stopping the train from moving. That means that every one of the riders on that Max train must have noticed what was going on.

    I’m upset that no one helped, and I’m baffled that the victim reported that no one on the train even called 911 on their cell phones (except the driver it turns out later). I’ve called the police on a crazy lady walking down the Interstate Max tracks and the transit cops were there in less than 2 minutes – perhaps enough time to catch this Adrian dude.

  4. dieselboi on June 13th, 2008 @ 10:38 am

    rgmdb, you make an excellent point about no one calling 911. I love 2 blocks from Prescott station and honestly, the Portland Police patrol that area as if it were a drug den. We see a police car drive down Skidmore and Maryland and Interstate right there every 20 minutes. I feel safe. So if people were thinking it would all be over before the PoPo showed up, they need to check that at the door.

    Penthesilea – I understand your need to protect your child and yourself. That is totally understandable. I can’t imagine every person on that train had a child though.

    Thanks all for the comments.

  5. clevergirl on June 13th, 2008 @ 11:54 am

    Stuff like this is definitely scary. I personally have gotten in the middle of fights like this and have helped break them up. I feel safe 99% of the time no matter where I am – the consequence of being a heavier woman at 6′ who has been walking city streets (SFO, SAC) since I was 14. However, I don’t think that this rests completely on TriMet’s shoulders. The security should be upgraded, that’s for sure. But there’s no way they can afford an officer (or 2) on every train all day long – not unless they raise the fares significantly. Since I’m hearing an amazing amount of grumbling over the increase in Sept due to the rise in diesel, I don’t think many people are actually willing on paying for this kind of service. Security on trains and busses is something that I’ve never experienced in any other US city, especially in cities with much more crime. People need to take a stand, or perhaps form some kind of volunteer coalition. We have volunteer firefighters who get calls when they’re needed – why not ensure the safety of our own neighborhoods and community services?
    Speaking of, the kid who beat the older man in Gresham last fall has been sentenced to >9 years in juvi, and will be deported once he’s done here…

  6. rgmdb on June 13th, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

    Yes, people need to be more involved and stand up to thugs. Some extra security also can’t be bad, but how about… Make everyone who gets on Max buy a ticket or show their pass??

    How many of those kids paid a fare to get onboard? Also, handing someone a ticket/money/pass changes the experience a bit. Perhaps that’s why less crime happens on buses. You are faced with some sort of authority upon boarding. I think there is a bit of a "free-for-all" atmosphere on the Max trains because the driver is compartmentalized away from the passengers and can’t see what’s going on behind them. Yes, that’s how all metro subway systems work too, but metro subway systems force everyone to buy a ticket before entering the platform.

    I rode the bus to work for about 6 years and never saw a situation that got out of control. A few times, I witnessed the bus driver stop the bus and confront badly-behaving passengers and generally that was all that was needed.

    Since we can’t really pay the driver on Max, how about a ticket collector on every train? Probably would be cheaper than installing a turnstile at every train entrance (which just sounds impossible to implement at this point).

  7. tODD (stadler) on June 13th, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

    Rgmdb, you realize that TriMet isn’t exactly overflowing with cash, right? How many full-time positions do you think you’re recommending they hire?

  8. rgmdb on June 13th, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

    How bout some bored old people that just need health insurance? You know, like the greeters at WalMart? Get them some red suspenders, a bunch of "I HEART PDX" buttons, and a ticket punch. When someone starts something, they launch into a story about when gas was $.35 a gallon. OKay, I’m being facetious, but where do you want to invest your tax dollars? The new I-5 bridge or a safe and effective public transportation system that doesn’t cause bottlenecks?

  9. chris on June 13th, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

    I think I will start carrying a gun when I’m on TriMet.

  10. penthesilea on June 14th, 2008 @ 10:28 am


    I think that’s a good idea. The town I grew up in had elderly volunteers who worked for the police department. They did things like walk the beat and patrol in golf carts. Eyes and ears that could radio in that something was up.


    I usually don’t carry anything more lethal than a library book. I guess I could threaten to paper cut them. Since my current one is about social disconnect within communities, I could try reading it aloud at them.

  11. snacky on June 14th, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

    I think that race ought to be made part of the discussions going on about the incidents.

    The latest incident involved a group of black teens harassing white women. I think this might be the case for most other teen violence incidents, but am not sure.

    This definitely was the case in the many bicyclist attacks last year.

    It’s very uncertain how much of a causal factor race is, compared to socio-economic and age. Since it has been some kind of a factor (racial epithets were used here, and thus "intimidation" was added as a charge; source: Oregonian) a discussion within the black community sounds like a logical thing to have happen.

  12. Where does the good go? | Portland Metblogs (pingback) on June 25th, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

    […] was reminded of a post that dieselboy posted about incidents on the MAX. There’s all sorts of shenanigans coming from certain someones in this building and […]

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