The 4 pm climax of today's Occupy TriMet event wasn't just an Occupy shindig. The meet-up attracted folks from a handful of organizations (including OPAL and the transit union) giving a refreshing face to the Occupy platform.
Mayoral candidate and Occupier Cameron Whitten made an appearance, signature megaphone in tow, calling TriMet's potential budget cuts a "personal issue." "I use it, everyone I know uses it, this affects us all," Whitten said. "These cost hikes shouldn't be targeted at the rider."
The local transit union passed around a petition to straight out impeach TriMet's General Manager Neil McFarlane. "All he focuses on is building more, when the real concern should be moving people," said Michael Pucik, political coordinator for the transit union.
"I'm here for my drivers that are not being taken care of," said union board officer Sandra Guengerich. She noted that the lack of new buses and the tight schedules are serious safety hazards. "The wheel doesn't turn because of them—it's because of us." She also stressed the importance of settling the union contract that's thrown a wrench into TriMet's budget plans.
The rally ended up being just that: A rally, with folks hoisting signs in the air and quoting MLK over megaphones. But could this mark a turning point in the Occupy movement, due to it's collaboration with strong outside organizations and definite goals? We shall see.
SURPRISE GUEST AFTER JUMP!