TriMet files lawsuit to require Clackamas County to follow through on long-standing commitments to light rail project


TriMet today filed a lawsuit in Clackamas County Circuit Court to require the County to follow through on its long-standing commitment to the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project (Project). The County has delayed moving forward on final project property acquisitions and $1.3 million in road and signal improvements. Construction on the 7.3-mile project is 35 percent complete.

“We understand that Clackamas County voters want a say in any rail projects based on Measure 3-401, but that does not affect the current Portland-Milwaukie project,” said TriMet Chief Media Relations Officer Mary Fetsch. “Unfortunately, we have to take this action to prevent delays that could impact the overall cost and schedule of the Project.”

The court action seeks a Declaratory Judgment, expedited consideration and for the Court to retain jurisdiction to supervise the County’s participation until the Project is complete.

Read the lawsuit

TriMet appreciates that the County has partnered with the agency to move the Project forward over the years, allowing design, construction and property acquisitions to proceed. However, since the November election that cooperation has dissolved. During that time TriMet has made numerous attempts to help the County resolve its outstanding issues. This included reducing the amount of cash contributed to the Project and instead providing in-kind contributions, as well as providing two extensions to allow time to meet the agreements of the Supplemental IGA.

TriMet has offered to resolve the matter through alternative means, including mediation or having a neutral third party bring this to a resolution. This offer still remains on the table.

Fetsch added, “We continue to call on the County to follow through on their long-standing commitments. Our focus is to keep the project on time, on budget and create jobs as we build a more efficient transit system.”


The Clackamas Board of County Commission has voted three times to support and move the Project into design and construction. This included approving the alignment via the Locally Preferred Alternative in 2009; an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2010 obligating funding and cooperation for preliminary engineering, final design and construction; and a Supplemental IGA signed in August 2012 that reduced the County’s cash contribution, allowed in-kind contributions and limited permit fees and development charges.

About the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County.

About the project

  • 7.3 miles
  • 10 stations
  • The first of its kind multi-modal bridge will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension over the Willamette River, but no private vehicles.
  • The Federal government is funding 50 percent of the $1.49 billion project; TriMet’s share is less than 5 percent.
  • Opens in September 2015
  • Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners

The Federal Transit Administration, State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.

Exhibit 1 to TriMet Complaint

Exhibit 2 to TriMet Complaint

Exhibit 3 to TriMet Complaint