Many TriMet riders preparing for delays as protesters gather in - KPTV - FOX 12

Many TriMet riders preparing for delays as protesters gather in Portland

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TriMet and the City of Portland are gearing up for protests Friday and Saturday. Thousands of people are expected to gather both days at Pioneer Courthouse Square for rallies and marches. 

On Thursday, TriMet sent out a notice saying it planned to suspend service downtown for the afternoon while the protests were going on. The transit organization then reversed course writing in a tweet, "On Friday, January 20, we will continue to provide service into Downtown Portland during the planned protests. However, if protests become violent or unsafe for our riders/employees, we will alter service and may temporarily suspend it downtown.”

TriMet is advising people to be prepared for delays and plan for extra time before riders head out.

That warning isn’t being taken lightly by passengers.

Several riders told FOX 12 Thursday evening they were planning to leave work early ahead of the protests.

“I don’t blame them for shutting down. It is a mess,” frequent MAX rider Pam Gilbert said.

Gilbert adds she has learned from past protests and riots and will be leaving work early Friday afternoon.

“I stayed later tonight,” Gilbert said. "I usually leave about 3:30 p.m., so I stayed tonight and tomorrow I’ll just head out a little early.”

Riders like Gio Gutierrez say he is trying to deal with planned protests.

“With this protest I think it is going to turn into a riot to be honest,” Gutierrez said. "I don’t think it is going to be good because of what has happened in the past.”

For other like Sarah Chamness leaving work early might not be an option.

“I’m hoping I can leave early tomorrow depending on how it goes,” Chamness said. “I may be stuck at work, it is Friday and my company is very busy.”

For many who live and work in this part of Portland, they understand the right to protest but don’t understand why their lives have to be upended. 

“Hopefully it doesn’t turn as bad as last time, I mean, I know they destroyed the city a bit and hopefully that won’t happen this round, hopefully it will be more peaceful,” Chamness said.

“Little nervous, I don’t know if I am going to be able to get home but if I can’t I always have other friends that live downtown,” Gutierrez said.

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