Last January, Rep. Jefferson Smith proposed HB 2891, a bill that would require TriMet to sponsor "volunteer transit foot patrol" at MAX stations. Rather than moving forward with the bill, TriMet requested a community group create a pilot project for this "Adopt-a-Station" concept. Still in its preliminary planning stages, the project is slowly gaining speed with the help of MAX Action, a local community organization working to better East Portland's MAX environment.
"We want to create a welcoming gateway to and from our community," says Mike Vander Veen, Max Action co-chair. Vander Veen says the group has been working with TriMet to solidify a pilot plan for the project. The biggest road block seems to be getting the guidelines down in ink. Vander Veen says while MAX Action has built a close relationship with TriMet's public relations department, he still finds it tricky to negotiate with the operations and safety staff.
TriMet's Mary Fetsch says that at the moment, staff are "refining the elements of it, as well as working through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement to ensure that everyone is in agreement with the approach to the effort."
Ideally, Vander Veen says, the end result would be a program where local businesses and neighborhood members would volunteer their time to keep the East Portland MAX stations tidy, welcoming and usable.
Next week, MAX Action representatives are distributing a survey to local businesses and community members to get a run down on who is using the stations and who would want to be involved in the program. "For me, it's hard because I'm not a resident or regular user of these stations," says Vander Veen. "It's important to hear from the people that are."
For now, the plan focuses primarily on the 122, 148 and 162 Ave. stations, as they lie within Rep. Smith's jurisdiction. But, Vander Veen says, if the pilot project is successful, he can easily see it expanding to all stations across the Portland Metro and downtown vicinity.