Finally, something to celebrate at TriMet! After 12 months of cutting bus lines, axing buses from Fareless Square and raising ticket prices, TriMet staffers and transit bigwigs alike got totally drunk downtown last night to celebrate a major success: the opening of the Green Line MAX to Clackamas.
The minute I walked in the door of TriMet's posh party (held at The Original: A Dinerant), someone handed me a strand of mardi gras beads attached to a flashing green pendant reading, "Green Means Go." Before I could even get the prize necklace over my head, a woman with a Columbia River Crossing nametag merrily recommended I try the a "Green Dragon" martini. Obviously, this was going to be a party like no other.
It wasn't just me and the CRC staff mending bridges over martinis last night. The Green Line has been more than 30 years in the making and its completion is cause for backslapping among transportation groups that don't always get along. ODOT, PDOT, CRC, BTA, FTA, people were mixing at the party regardless of acronym.
The Green Dragon, the bartender informed me, was cucumber infused vodka with mint and something something else I couldn't hear because over the music. But I had spotted Mayor Sam Adams sipping one and because it was an open bar, I tried one, too. Drinking the strong not-quite-enjoyable concoction I turned to talk to TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's Michelle Poyourow, but a waitress whisked by with another strange offer. "Foie gras fig newton?" she asked, lowering her tray of sliced figs on gray duck liver patties.
By the time the celebratory speechmaking was over and Fetsch was starting to get her groove on, dancing around the Dineraunt, I was starting to seriously question whether the TriMet staffers would be alert, awake and enthusiastic for the 8:30 AM Green Line opening celebration at Clackamas Town Center.