Tri-Met 1990 Annual Report

Ok guys, just wanted to share something a bit different from the usual pics from my slide collection. I recently discovered a nice little treasure trove of TriMet paraphernalia holed up in the county library’s closed stacks.

Here is one such gem: the Tri-Met 1990 Annual Report. There are others but I found this one particularly interesting for the discussion of the of Westside MAX planning then taking shape. 1990 was a red-letter year for TriMet as it was bestowed the American Public Transit Assoc. “Best Transit System” award. A mark of distinction proudly emblazoned on all MAX vehicles where they remained visible until being repainted in the new white/yellow/blue livery. These were heady times for TriMet with near universal praise for MAX and huge projects in the hopper.

Scanned below for your reading pleasure is the entirety of the report minus the last two pages of legalese.


TriMet 1990 Annual Report Cover

The following is extracted text from the report

TRI-MET: Best large transit system in North America, 1989-1990


Strong ridership plus a number of other markedly improved productivity indicators won Tri-Met a prestigious national award for Outstanding Achievement. In September, the American Public Transit Association named Tri-Met as the Best Large Transit System in North America for 1989-90. The award cited Tri-Met’s “extraordinary efficiency and effectiveness of operations,” and service innovations like Fareless Square, the downtown Transit Mall, and MAX.

The award recognized real performance improvements during the period from FY 1986 through FY 1988: Ridership increases; reductions in workers’ compensation costs; dramatically improved operator attendance; a sharp reduction in the number of accidents; and a 46% increase in miles between chargeable road calls.

Tri-Met employees welcomed the recognition with pride, with banners, with celebrations at all garages, and with gold seals on all buses and trains. In placing the first gold seal. Governor Neil Goldschmidt gave credit for the honor exactly where it was due: ‘To Tri-Met’s front-line men and women who drive and maintain the vehicles. Without them,” he said, “there would be no award.”


A series of workshops for nearly 400 supervisory and staff employees was concluded early in the fiscal year. The workshops introduced the concept of service excellence as it applies to each job at Tri-Met, and its potential for improvements in productivity and morale. The concept has served as the basis of a variety of actions and programs, as well as a standard for the agency to follow in the future.


Ridership was 5.8% above last fiscal year, with 136,200 average weekday originating rides. In June, MAX ridership hit an all-time high, with 24,400 weekday boarding. MAX continues to be a strong player for special events. On this year’s Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade day, 49,500 boarding were recorded for MAX. MAX ridership, at an average of 20,475 weekday boardings, was up 4.2% for the year.

MAX accounts for more favorable national press than any other single feature in the metropolitan region.

Continuing to improve TRI-MET service quality


This fiscal year, Tri-Met that took delivery of 88 new busses. Long-range plans call for replacing an average of 50 buses per year for 10 years, to renew Tri-Met’s aging fleet. In 1987, the average fleet age was 11 years; by Spring 1991, the average age of the fleet should be close to seven years.


With the addition of new buses, each with front door wheelchair lifts, six more bus lines became fully accessible, bringing the total to 34 of Tri-Met’s 74 lines. For the second year in a row, Tri-Met was named one of the top 10 public transit districts in the nation by the American Disabled for Accessible Public Transportation (ADAPT).

Tri-Met was named one of the top 10 public transit districts in the nation for providing accessible transportation to the disabled.


Three new bus lines were added in April: line 58 – Sunset Express, line 62- Murray Boulevard, and line 68- Hillsboro-Tanasbourne.


Despite more passengers and station stops and ever before, MAX’s overall running time remains the same, thanks to a new signal preemption system installed during the year. The signal override device, called VETAG, gives priority to trains at intersections throughout downtown and in the Holladay District


Electronic registering fair boxes were installed on 450 buses. The new fareboxes smooth operations by displaying the value of the ticket, coin and currency dropping into the box, reducing shorted fares and providing a daily total of each fareboxe’s receipts.

New service, new stations, new partnerships


Tri-Met is helping Pioneer Place succeed as a bright new addition to downtown Portland. In March, Tri-Met, in partnership with the Rouse Company and the Portland Development Commission, celebrated the opening of two MAX stations at Pioneer Place.


Construction plans were completed during the year for a new transit center located in central Oregon City. The $843,000 center, scheduled to open in January 1991, is designed to make transfers between five bus lines convenient, and will improve traffic circulation by providing space for off-street bus layovers.


Construction began on a new MAX station to serve the September 1990 opening of the Oregon Convention Center. Nearby, a Vintage Trolley bam and a new Coliseum Transit Center are under construction, as well as street and sidewalk improvements that will make transit more attractive in the Coliseum – Convention Center area. The area is served by 1000 buses and 168 trains a day. Vintage Trolley service is expected to begin in fall of 1991.


Several programs have strengthened partnerships with the business community, and lead the way for similar programs in the future:

  • Columbia South Shore. In response to Columbia South Shore workers’ needs, Tri-Met improved service to the employees at Viking Industries, Firestone, Northern Plastics and other area businesses with the addition of a Wilkes Road shuttle bus.
  • Line 68 partnership with Hillsboro firms. In partnership with four high-tech companies and the City of Hillsboro, Line 68—Hillsboro-Tanas- boume was added to serve some 3,700 employees between the Hillsboro Transit Center and Tanasboume Town Center. To encourage use of the new line, the four companies are buying $21,000 in passes for their employees this year.
  • Employer-supplied transit passes. Starting in August, First Interstate Bank will subsidize transit passes for its downtown employees at the rate of $15 a month. First Interstate is the largest downtown employer to participate so far. A number of other firms are in the process of developing programs to offer transit passes as a fringe benefit to their employees.

Pioneer Place is one of the most transit intensive developments in the country, with an estimated 4000 bus passengers and 2500 max passengers each day

Planning for the future


In October, staff published “Transit and Parking,” an analysis of the City of Portland’s Downtown Parking and Circulation Plan Update. The plan places a heavy responsibility on Tri-Met to capture 35% of all weekday downtown trips by the year 2000, versus today’s 26% share. Tri-Met’s analysis determined that the agency has both the financial and vehicle capacity to meet the growth in trips through 1998, when new revenues will be needed.


A thorough review of light rail ridership substantiated the need to acquire up to ten additional light rail vehicles. A funding plan, linked to Westside MAX, was developed for the purchase of those vehicles.


In the May election, a majority of metropolitan-area voters supported Ballot Measure #1, which would have allowed local communities to use local vehicle-registration fees for transit investments. But the constitutional amendment, which required a statewide vote, did not enjoy the same support in Oregon’s rural counties; the measure failed statewide. With that funding source foreclosed for Westside MAX construction, work began to prepare funding plans and financial strategies that will rely on general obligation bonds for the local share of Westside MAX construction.

Westside MAX

Extending max to Washington county remains Tri-Met’s top development priority. 18 technical reports were submitted to the US Urban Mass Transportation Administration in January. The reports contained data that will comprise the supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Westside Corridor Project, including the proposed 12 mile extension of max and associated highway improvements. Tri-Met awaits federal approval of the SDEIS, which is the culmination of more than two years’ preliminary engineering work, by year’s send. Project milestones included the review of several options for a downtown tunnel portal and the selection of a single portal at the SW. 18th and Jefferson alignment for the SDEIS study, as well as a narrowing to 2 alternative routes through Central Beaverton. these decisions were among the results of an extensive public and technical involvement process including more than 100 meetings with neighborhood organizations, technical committees, the citizens advisory committee, and a different city, county and state governing bodies. State-of-the-art video simulations have helped engineers and the public to view proposed project alternatives, including landscaping, engineering features, and the train itself as superimposed on photographs of existing landscapes and neighborhoods.

A majority of tri-county residents believe more MAX lines are important for maintaining a quality environment in the metropolitan area.


2 thoughts on “Tri-Met 1990 Annual Report

  1. lots of good stuff in here. first off, i wish that there had been a giant ribbon for a MAX train to break through when the Tilikum opened. Secondly, i love the rendering of the west side tunnel – i with it actually looked like that. and this made me want to dig in to the Westside MAX planning documents to see how they chose the tunnel w/stop alternatives over the surface option. great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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