Tram Vehicles: Jean and Walt

From PDOT:

Two months ago Commissioner Adams established a tram naming committee with an intention of personalizing Portland’s new skyline icon with names. The committee has completed its work and has decided to name the tram cars “Jean” and “Walt” respectively. Tram car “Jean” honors Jean Richardson, Oregon’s first female engineering graduate, from Oregon State University (OSU). Tram car “Walt” honors Walt Reynolds, the first African American to graduate from the University of Oregon Medical School, now known as Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU).

Despite enduring gender discrimination during her time at school and in establishing her career, Jean Richardson persevered. She graduated from OSU in 1949 and found gainful employment by first offering her services pro bono until her employer deemed her work professionally competent and worthy of a paycheck.

Walt Reynolds is a community leader in ways beyond being first African American in Oregon to earn a medical degree from OHSU in 1949. The Oregonian reported on July 10, 1997: “It’s after 6 p.m. and Reynolds is still seeing patients, as he has for more than four decades of solo practice. It’s one of the ways he gives back to his community. In addition to his work, which the 77-year-old Reynolds has continued well past regular retirement age, he has served as president of the Urban League, a mentor to other minority health professionals and a volunteer on numerous projects. Today, he dreams of establishing a clinic with other black family doctors to build a community tradition.”

Complementing the tram car names, the committee also selected two station names derived from the Tualatin language: Chameffu, meaning “On the mountain,” for the Upper Station and Chamanchal, meaning “On the river” for the Lower Station. Commissioner Adams and the local Native American community are pleased that that the City is naming a significant project using a local tribal language.

9 responses to “Tram Vehicles: Jean and Walt”

  1. Outside of all the warm and fuzzies – and of course not diminishing the accomplishments of Ms.(Mrs. ? Miss ?) Richardson and Mr. Reynolds – those are really boring names.

    Sure, they are historically significant – but no one will know that. People generally don’t read plaques and stuff. Not everyone is as addicted to facts as I am. (grin)

    But at least we have something better than “north” and “south” or “one” and “two”.

    Oh well. Jean and Walt it is.

    Also, you say:

    “The committee has completed its work and has decided to name the tram cars “Jean” and “Walt” respectively.”

    Respectively of what? Which one is the north car and which one is the south car?


  2. I agree—tip of the hat for recognizing the people involved, wag of the finger for using them to name the tram. The contest seemed to have been billed more as a colloquial thing, rather than a formal naming of something like a building (eg, the Keller Auditorium or McCall Park). That’s why I suggested Bud and Vera–almost everyone in town would know exactly who they were talking about. Or Homer and Marge (or Bart and Lisa), to honor Matt Groening and make it recognizable for tourists.

  3. Torridjoe – Nice Colbert reference there… a PortlandTransport 1st?

    Meanwhile, in the Colbert tradition, I am proud to announce that _I_ am completely responsible for the selection of these names. How? Because I cleverly submitted a list of names I knew would not be chosen by these Big Government Liberal types, thus guiding them to the selections they made.

    Seriously, here is my original list:

    Suggestion #1:

    Bubbles & Fizz
    (In keeping with the water droplet appearance of the tram cars.)

    Suggestion #2:

    Jelly & Belly
    (Could go for a corporate sponsorship)

    Suggestion #3:

    Asbury and John
    (After Asbury L. Barbur and John Loudon Macadam, two major streets the tram crosses)
    (Do I have the right “Macadam” here? I can’t find any info on who Macadam Ave. was really named after.)

    Suggestion #4:

    William and Henry
    (After William Lair Hill and Henry W. Corbett, signifying the Corbett-Terwilliger-Lair Hill neighborhood.)

    PS… No relation (that I’m aware of) to the selected Richardson.

    – Bob R.

  4. I’m confused. Wasn’t this a contest to pick names out of those that were submitted? Who submitted Jean and Walt?

    Sounds like more of that typical city “process” where the City says it’s looking for input from the pubic…but really isn’t. :-)

    Perhaps it’s just bitterness on my part for not having MY names chosen (“river” and “city” which come together as RiverCity) but neither Jean nor Walt lives in Portland, and won’t be paying for –or even using– the tram. There really doesn’t seem to be any connection to the tram for these folks, as accomplished as they may be.

  5. People generally don’t read plaques and stuff. Not everyone is as addicted to facts as I am. (grin)

    When people, or a person, is too simple to enjoy such historical fact and people of the past, it is their loss.

    I pitty their lack of interest in those that have tread the thin line before them. History, unfortunately has to repeat itself many times because of this simple inattention.

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