With pricey gas pushing TriMet ridership to record highs and a fare hike on the horizon, the fledgling Portland Coalition Against Poverty decided the time is right to start a Transit Riders' Union. In six days of canvassing on MAX and buses last week, the grassroots group signed up 350 people interested in joining a union. Organizer Colin de Laval says the union's first goal will be to make TriMet a fareless system.

During her time in office, Mayor Vera Katz investigated the idea of a fareless TriMet, but found safety concerns and lack of revenue outweighed benefits.

De Laval says the arguments boil down to money. "Anytime you cut into the capitalist system you're going to get backlash," he says. SM 


Restore America's David Crowe sent a sky-is-falling email to his most ardent supporters last Thursday, July 31, asking them to pony up $50,000, pronto, to continue his group's right-wing Christian political activism.

"I need your help! I cannot do this by myself with a few volunteers. We have less than $4,000 in our bank account," he wrote, saying that's not enough to fund the payroll, let alone mailings to churches. "We need $50,000 more to serve all Oregonians, register and turn out the Christian vote, and restore the legislature to sanity."

Back in April, Crowe sent a similarly alarmist note, chastising his flock: "Of the 8,000 Oregonians on this email list, only 40 have made contributions toward our efforts, totaling $4,385. That is not enough." AJR