Everything is broken

With so many basic functions of government failing in Portland, you start to wonder if anything is actually working properly within the bureaucracy. One thing that's certainly not  A-OK are the school buses. 

Like many other places, Portland laid off school bus drivers when the pandemic shut the schools down. And now there aren't enough drivers to get all the littles and middle schoolers to their schools. (The high school kids have to use Tri-Met, which they can ride for free, lucky them.)

I hear that a lot of times parents aren't informed that there will be no bus until right before it was supposed to arrive. By that time, they may already be at work. I'm told that sometimes parents are informed during the day that the bus won't be bringing Johnny or Janie home from school, were they already are. And although we Zoomed away relentlessly last year, reportedly there's no longer a remote learning option for the kids whose missing bus left them high and dry at home.

None of those stories surprises me.

You might think that this is a job for the National Guard, but they're busy right now keeping the state's hospitals from collapsing. And so until a bunch of new recruits complete their bus driver training, we can add the school buses to the list of basic chores that Portland can't get done.


  1. It was a grand reopening, for awhile.

  2. Back years ago (when I went through PPS) before they re-orged the schools into K-5 and 6-7-8, most students could walk to their neighborhood school.

  3. This is not a Portland only problem. This is a nationwide problem. The pandemic has laid bare a lot of cracks in our society- among them the disregard we have for the people who make our society function on a day to day basis in the service industry. The Lake Oswego school district sent a notice that 3 drivers walked off the job last week after being berated and humiliated for having the audacity to not be on schedule (drivers have been driving double routes to account for an overall shortage of drivers). We could all be a little nicer to each other and more patient and realize that things still aren’t “normal” nor will they be for a while. I’m just happy to have the kids back in school and realize that there will be bumps along this ride.

    1. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/16/us/school-shortages-bus-drivers-workers.amp.html


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