Farewell to Tri-Met

Up untl a few years ago, I was a fan of Portland's transit system. I didn't use it all that much, but the buses came in handy for going downtown and back. I would also hop on Tri-Met to get to and from the mechanic's shop when my car was in for service. I even had the app on my phone, and with the senior citizen discount, it was a pretty amazing deal. The bus stop is a short block and a half away from my house.

But these days, I wouldn't get on Tri-Met if you paid me. From the moment you get to your departure stop to the moment you disembark, there are too many crazy people, and little or no security. There's no other word to describe it but dangerous.

Who can forget the 82-year-old guy who lost his life last summer, beaten to death by some psycho when all he wanted to do was catch a bus at Portland State in broad daylight? Or the young guy who was stabbed to death by a deranged white supremacist on the Max train between Lloyd Center and Hollywood a few years back?

Last week and this, the frightening news has gotten even hairier, with two incidents involving the Max train to Gresham – the city's oldest light rail line. First, a woman named Brianna Lace Workman reportedly pushed a three-year-old child onto the train tracks at Gateway. 

According to the district attorney’s office, Workman was near a mother and her child at the Gateway Transit Center MAX platform when Workman allegedly shoved the child off the platform and onto the MAX train tracks. 

There was nothing the 3-year-old child did to provoke the attack, the district attorney’s office said. 

TriMet surveillance video of the incident shows someone wearing a red hat pushing a child in a pink coat onto the rails, causing the child to land face-first on the metal rail of the track and rocks before she was pulled back onto the platform by bystanders who rushed toward the child.

Fortunately the kid was pulled off the tracks before the train arrived, and the assailant was arrested. But with no real functioning criminal justice system in Portland, she'll be back roaming the streets soon, if she isn't already.

That's Gateway for you. I grew up using the Port Autority Bus Terminal in New York City from time to time. This was before the Giuliani mayoralty. Back then "Port Authority" was a notoriously scary place to be, but I'll tell you, it's got nothing on today's Gateway Transit Center in Portland. Way too many kooks and creeps.

Then yesterday we learn that some nut bit off a 78-year-old Hillsboro man's ear, and chewed off part of his face, on a Max platform east of Gateway a ways, in Gresham. 

The injuries were so severe, authorities said they could see the victim’s skull....

After fingerprinting, officers said the suspect is 25-year-old Koryn Kraemer. Authorities said he had recently moved from Georgia to Portland.

And of course, this being blue, blue Oregon, we don't get to see the suspect's mug shot any more. You wouldn't want to stigmatize a fine kid like that, would you? Better that he should be allowed to slither around in anonymity.

Anyway, my Tri-Met days are over. Except for paying their miserable income tax, of course, and indirectly paying their hideous payroll tax. Those are not optional unless you move away from the region or stop working for a living. The Portland transit dudes need to change their motto from "Safety - Inclusivity - Equity - Community - Teamwork" to "Better You Than Me."

UPDATE, a few minutes later: Here's another Tri-Met crime story, from a month ago, that I just noticed. There are way too many of these stories. I refuse to become one.


  1. For almost 20 years from 1999 to 2018 I rode the bus to downtown every work day and home every evening. I read my way through all the classics I always meant to read; Moby Dick, Tale of Two Cities, The Tale of Genji all the works of Philip K Dick, Ursula LeGuin etc, etc, etc. Only twice in all that time did I get off the bus because of a passenger that made me feel uncomfortable. My retirement came right in the nick of time one year before Covid, BLM, and the city I grew up in going to straight to hell. I worry I may never in my lifetime see it again the way I remember it. A nightmare you can't wake up from.

  2. The people who run this city cloak themselves in the mantle of compassion, but their indifference to the victims of the lawlessness they have enabled speaks volumes.

  3. Tri Met and the streetcar are just mobile homeless shelters these days, it seems.

  4. Rolling versions of what used to be called insane asylums.

  5. The Lloyd Center began as an upscale shopping location.

    It’s probably a coincidence that it’s decline started about the time the max line started

    1. Clackamas Town Center also went downhill shortly after the Green Line arrived. Funny coincidence that the two safest malls in the metro area (Washington Square and Bridgeport) don't have a light rail line "servicing" them.

  6. Unintended consequences always follow shallow thinking

  7. Well apparently the ear biting, face eating, young man thought that the victim “was a robot.” He knew because he could smell it.

    Yep....either insanity or some good/bad drugs. All brought to you courtesy of Multnomah County and the state of Oregon.



  9. I remember mom getting us dressed in 'nice clothes' to go downtown! The drinking fountains are still there and are a reminder of good days past. That was circa 1962-66 or so. Stay on the West Side and you'll most likely be just fine. I wont go downtown as I don't want to get shot, car-jacked or witness something that puts me in court, then the gang-bangers come after me...

    1. I have found downtown to provoke sadness, rather than making me feel vulnerable or threatened. Like in any dense urban area, you need to be aware of your surroundings, but I've been in conditions a lot worse, and never had any real trouble. The paranoid imaginings conjured at a distance are always much worse than the actual scene. Driving in traffic poses a much higher likelihood of getting hurt.

    2. Well you got me there.


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