Oregon state leader calls on TriMet to increase safety after ‘disturbing’ recent crimes

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 9:10 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - TriMet safety is top of mind for state leaders and riders alike with recent high-profile crimes shaking up the community.

Now an Oregon state leader is calling on TriMet to increase security measures and to do so quickly.

Police and TriMet said recent crimes were “isolated” and “extremely disturbing” and Representative Travis Nelson (D-Portland) said that’s what compelled him to make a public statement on social media.

Many people who use TriMet said the MAX is reliable and convenient.

“That’s how I get around the city. I know it like the back of my hand. I like it,” Matthew Morrison, a TriMet rider, said.

“I ride the MAX to my class at Portland State,” Kenny Doan, a TriMet rider, said.

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But with any system, it isn’t without its challenges. Rep. Nelson said he expressed his concerns about safety to TriMet over the summer.

“Conversations I had with constituents about their concerns with riding the bus and the MAX and them feeling unsafe,” Rep. Nelson said.

And after recent high-profile crimes on TriMet platforms in the past couple of weeks, he said he felt compelled to voice his growing concern on social media.

“When I saw the stories about the man having his face chewed off and the three-year-old girl being pushed off the tracks, I really felt compelled to tweet about it,” Rep. Nelson said.

Rep. Nelson said he wants to see mass transit thrive and said he had a productive meeting with TriMet on Monday.

“Told me they’re working diligently that they’ve actually gotten quite a bit of a budget increase so that they can improve security,” Rep. Nelson said.

Riders said they also hope to see changes soon.

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“I think more actual security would probably be better and keep people more safe,” Toby Nishino, a TriMet rider, said.

Rep. Nelson said leaders are also trying to do their part to address other issues beyond security.

“Behavioral health and mental health and addiction, and those are all issues we’re going to be working on,” Rep. Nelson said.

And people said after those recent attacks, they’re more vigilant.

“Be aware of your surroundings and help out where you can,” Morrison said.

TriMet said over the past year they’ve more than doubled customer safety supervisors and safety response team members to more than 40 each. They said they’ve also increased the number of transit security officers to over 100, and plan to continue increasing security teams this year.