New MAX Orange Line and Tilikum Crossing are now open - KPTV - FOX 12

New MAX Orange Line and Tilikum Crossing are now open

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Members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

The new MAX Orange Line is officially open.

The nearly seven and a half mile route runs between downtown Portland and Milwaukie. The route also includes Portland's newest bridge, Tilikum Crossing, also known as the 'Bridge of the People.'

It's the only bridge of it's kind in the country dedicated to the MAX Line, Portland streetcar, buses, bikes and pedestrians. 

Many people gathered on the bridge on Saturday for the official grand opening. 

Members of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde donned their full regalia as they led the way for the inaugural ride over the bridge.

For people in Milwaukie, the new Orange Line means a direct connection to downtown, but for businesses in the area, the new route is a means of reaching a range of customers that they wouldn't otherwise cater to.

Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba said the city's desire for the line goes back about 20 years, and to say they're excited would be an understatement.

"My council is giddy. You should've seen them on Tuesday night. It was like a bunch of sixth graders finding out that the last day of school is today. We've got new businesses that are excited or want to come specifically to Milwaukie because of what's happening," said Mayor Mark Gamba.

Milwaukie business owner, Deana Clossom definitely wants to be a part of what's happening. She moved into her new full-service salon location less than two weeks ago, and she said the timing of the move with the new Orange Line debut was no coincidence.

"That was probably my key factor. We're really excited to have the MAX come in. We have a lot more walk-ins already," said Clossom.

From entrepreneurs hoping to draw in new customers, to countless everyday commuters, the Orange Line appears to be the next stop on the way to booming business for Milwaukie.

In honor of the Orange Line debut, all transit services were free on Saturday, including TriMet service, Portland Streetcar and Portland Aerial Tram.

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