Of Preparedness, Personal Space, and the MAX Orange Line from Milwaukie to City Center

Story contributed by Robert Wagner – @gangsterswedish on Twitter

Unlike many Portland-area public transit stalwarts, my foray into commuting via light-rail didn’t begin until the completion of the Orange Line to Milwaukie. As a resident of beautiful southeast Portland, I had been relegated to riding buses into downtown whenever my access to the family automobile was limited. Granted, my commute is short, a mere 3.5 miles, but suffice to say that riding the bus at 5:35am on any given weekday morning is a tad less comfortable than driving myself in the reclined comfort of the gas-guzzling family SUV. The Orange Line changed all of that. Now, after a brisk morning walk, I can get downtown in a few minutes without having to sit so close to Bus People; I could catch up on some reading or listen to some podcasts! I was, in a word, elated.

I consulted a fellow MAX-riding friend about the proper procedure for actually paying for my commute. Did I really have to buy a pass for each trip like I would on a bus? The scant few times I’d ever rode the MAX prior to the Orange Line I had never bought a pass – hedging my bet that the particular run I was on wouldn’t be patrolled by anyone that was going to check it anyway. Why waste the $2.50? My friend eventually convinced me that yes, I should pay for my rides, and eventually it would turn out to be good advice. Or so I would have thought.

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Bicycling? Playing hooky?

Not badIn any case, thank you!

My morning bus has been delightfully un-crowded the last two – record-high temperature beautifully sunny – days.

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Humanity on Wheels 3 – the Recording

If you missed last week’s Humanity on Wheels 3 – or just want to re-live TriMet’s Woodstock – you’re in luck: the fine folks at The Sprocket Podcast (i.e. Brock Dittus and Aaron Flores) recorded the event for posterity!

Have a listen here: E293 – Humanity On Wheels 3: An Evening of Transit Tales

Here are some live shots of the featured story tellers – plus a couple of our open mic superstars:

William Reagan at Humanity on Wheels 3 - 5 April 2016

William Reagan shared an enhanced version of In Heat

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He Lived

After tens of thousands of hours riding public transportation, the worst physical violence I had experienced personally were a couple of punches to the head that did no damage. And I’d never seen another passenger assaulted (I’m just lucky, I guess.) Then, a couple of weeks ago, I had my first brush with serious violence.

The first thing I remember about it was walking absently down the concrete steps. Why so many people there, between the Max platform and the bus mall? They were mostly teenagers, milling, shouting, cutting up. Leaning and leaping. Racing by. There were a lot of them at the bottom of the steps, too. Maybe there’d been a game at Grant High School.

Once on the ground, threading my way through the crowd, I heard the angry shouting.

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Humanity on Wheels 3 (5 April 2016)

Humanity on Wheels 3!

After a three and a half year hiatus, it’s back! Humanity on Wheels 3 – presented by Kick Ass Oregon History and TriMet Diaries – takes place Tuesday, 5 April 2016 at the Jack London Bar (529 SW 4th Ave – under The Rialto Poolroom).

Inspired by Muni Diaries Live, Back Fence PDX, and Stumptown Stories, Humanity on Wheels is a fantastic evening of Portland-area mass transit tales:

Selected story tellers will open the evening. Sarah Mirk, Dan Christensen, William Reagan, Robert Wagner, Dr. Jeff and Heather Goguen will all share stories of riding TriMet. Then, the master of ceremonies, KAOH’s Doug Kenck-Crispin will introduce an Open Mic section of the program, where audience members can share their own Portland Mass Transit stories!

For the audience’s enjoyment, we will also offer musical interludes provided by Dr. Something (whose songs include “Beaverton TC” and “Shitsplosion at the Lloyd Center Macy’s“). AND we will enjoy viewing vintage TriMet training films and advertisements from the 70s and 80s that we obtained from the agency’s archives!

We certainly hope you will join us for Humanity on Wheels 3! As always, the event is conveniently located in the center of the previously “Fareless Square.”

[A big thank you to Sprocket Podcast, who will be recording and broadcasting the program and Heather Goguen for the graphic design! Christopher Conner at TriMet was quite helpful in assisting with obtaining the vintage films, AND a big thank you to Matthew Cowan at the Oregon Historical Society for engineering the film transfer.]

Doors open at 7:00 PM, the show starts at 7:30 PM, and the event is FREE!

Visit the event page at OrHistory.com for me details.

For a taste of Humanity on Wheels past, and a hint of what you can expect, check these out:

Humanity on Wheels 2 Sponsors

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