Help Make Milwaukie LRT Safe: Task Force Members Sought

From Metro:

Safety and Security Task Force a priority for the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail project

As the planning and evaluation process for the proposed Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project is underway, there are many opportunities for interested citizens to get involved and offer input on the various impacts and benefits of a new light rail line. Among the factors along the line that would be affected by the project, safety and security has emerged as a significant issue.

As a result, the project team has decided to create a safety and security task force to address community interests and issues during the current study rather than during final design, as is typically done. The task force will give interested community members and professionals in the industry an opportunity to identify and convey safety and security issues and opportunities to the project team.

The project is looking for a balance of perspective from people along the proposed alignment. With members committed to attending each task force meeting, discussion will be lively and productive. Task force meetings are expected to occur between September 2007 and February 2008 and will be open to the public.

For more information, visit, send an email to or call (503) 797-1756

16 responses to “Help Make Milwaukie LRT Safe: Task Force Members Sought”

  1. Simple:
    Safety: Grade separate every inch of the line.
    Video of non grade separated line:

    Security: Don’t build it.
    Armed guards on the trains will reduce on board crime, but won’t stop the “criminal delivery device” part of the problem. For instance, a criminal can take MAX to a local park-n-ride and get a car without having to deal with a car that took him there. Of course Trimet could actually put guards on the park-n-rides.

    But after you spend enough to make it secure, you could have just run buses on existing roads (what would have been cheaper anyway). Of course the Bloomin Idiot would not have rewarded his campaign contributors and Newman might not please his other employer – the rail designer & builder.


  2. Someone told me the tweakers like to hang out at the Park-N-Rides and they steal catalytic convertors out of cars. How could this be happening?

  3. Greg and Jim,

    A person is actually about 6 times more likely to be caught, arrested and held for committing crimes at park and rides or on the Max. There is a team of police officers, from multiple municipalities that the Max passes through, that work together to patrol the Max line and the park and rides. They also have their own office with holding cells and a DA in downtown Portland.

    Essentially, there are more cops per acre at park and rides and on the Max than anywhere in the city. And they have the resources to hold and try a person, unlike the rest of the city where many criminals are just cited and released without even taking a ride downtown.

    Personally, I think they should be posting signs at the Max stations that educate would-be criminals about the gamble they’re taking by trying to “work” the Max. It’s not good odds.

  4. They need to be more “visible” then. In NYC the guards have machine guns and German Shepards. Maybe they need to do that here, too.

  5. “But after you spend enough to make it secure, you could have just run buses on existing roads (what would have been cheaper anyway).”

    >>>> But the “Euro” and railfan crowd wouldn’t like that.

  6. Well, I doubt you’re using anything but the fuzzy math you favor to come to that conclusion Jim. And, I highly doubt that the odds of being the victim of a violent crime at a Max station are any greater than the odds of being in a automobile collision that causes a person either harm to their vehicle (all vehicle collisions are generally property loss incidents) or person.

    But, even so, you can’t only count the risk of having an actual crime committed against you while you’re in an automobile and then say that these very improbably crimes are the only crimes associated with automobile use. You also have to count all of the crimes that take place in automobile parking lots or as a result of street parking. Last time I took a women’s self defense course, the danger of parking garages, where you generally don’t have the protection of having other people around, was a major discussion issue. But, they didn’t have a whole segment dedicated to the dangers of using transit…which is essentially equivalent to just going out into public and being exposed to the general populous.

  7. In 2005, about 500 people died in car crashes in Oregon. How many people died at MAX and bus stations? I surmise the number is much closer to zero. So Jim, you are right, but only if by “more dangerous” you mean “far less likely to die.” And that seems like convoluted logic to me.

  8. “MAX and the station areas are relatively safe compared to the typical bus stop.”

    >>>> OH REALLY? Well, put this in your pipe and smoke it, railfan:

    The East Precinct’s Sgt. Kim Preston (at a neighborhood meeting):

    “‘The MAX has been a living nightmare for us’ Preston said. ‘I would not ride it at night — and I’m armed all the time. There are massive fights, guns displayed, stabbings, people being threatened and bullied.’”

    Now, do want to argue with an East Precinct police sargeant?

    No way you would catch me on East Side MAX after 7 PM. I would take the bus, even if it took longer.

  9. Now, do want to argue with an East Precinct police sargeant?

    I don’t know… did the precinct police sergeant produce any statistics regarding incidents of violent crime on MAX, and how those compare to crime rates in general?

    As a rider myself, I know that there are a number of unsettling lesser incidents and minor annoyances that go unreported, and I have advocated for an increase in visible security presence, but “massive fights” and stabbings, bullying incidents, etc., would have been reported by _somebody_, so there ought to be statistics available.

    – Bob R.

  10. I ride eastside MAX at night all the time. Downtown to 82nd Avenue or to Gateway. I’ve been doing it regularly for years.

    I have yet to see a massive fight or a stabbing, and I have never been threatened or bullied, or concerned for my safety. I’ve had to deal with loud kids, dysfunctional couples airing their problems in public, panhandlers, and people collecting signatures for Sizemore initiatives. Annoyances rather than threats.

    I don’t question that incidents have occurred over the years, but serious crime isn’t exactly a nightly occurrence. And yeah, I’ll argue the point with an East Precinct police sergeant, since I’ve been riding unarmed for years with no trouble at all.

  11. Now, do want to argue with an East Precinct police sargeant?

    A long time ago I learned to ignore police officer’s versions of safety. They mostly would never live anywhere they work. Afterall, if it were safe, they wouldn’t be needed. So no, there is no point in arguing with them. They experience the world through different eyes.

  12. MAX and the station areas are relatively safe compared to the typical bus stop.


  13. In Vancouver we recently introduced a new transit police force. They are full-fledged police officers, empowered by an act of the Provincial Legislature, who have jurisdiction in all municipalities. This is important because previously our Transit Special Constables did not have the legal jurisdiction to operate off of SkyTrain property. Now these new police can respond to crimes off of SkyTrain property, they can pursue criminals who leave SkyTrain property, and can execute provincial and national warrants when arresting someone. The more mundane part of their job is to conduct random fare checks on the trains or at the platform level. SkyTrain is based on the proof-of-payment (honour) system and our stations do not have turnstiles.

    I don’t have statistics but my assumption would be that transit crime rates, which were already very low, have fallen further since the transit police were introduced. I always find it reassuring to see a pair of transit police writing some fare-evader a hefty $173 dollar fine. That’s a pretty stiff fine, and remember that the Canadian dollar is now worth the same or slightly more than the US dollar, so that $173-Canadian fine is the same or slightly more than a $173-US fine.

    How much are fare-evasion fines in Portland?

  14. I think a more effective punishment would be to have these loser fare evaders (if caught) wear a sign for an entire day at a busy MAX stop that says “I am wearing this silly sign because I tried to get a free ride. I am a loser.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *