Gov. Brown, U.S. Reps. join hundreds for Inaugural Ride as part of MAX Orange Line Grand Opening


New MAX line opens on time, under budget, plus all transit service free today

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde Councilwoman Cheryle Kennedy, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici, Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan along with other elected officials and project partners today boarded the MAX Orange Line for the Inaugural Ride as part of TriMet’s Grand Opening Celebration.

“The Orange Line demonstrates smart transportation investments are critical to our economic growth,” said Gov. Brown. “I am proud that state government could be a partner in this investment in our transportation future.”

MAX Orange Line is open!

The Confederated Tribe of Grande Ronde lead the Inaugural Ride over Tilikum Crossing.

About 75 members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde led the Inaugural Ride train in a procession across Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.

“The Tilikum Crossing means the bridge of the people. This is a sacred concept for members of the Grand Ronde,” said Councilwoman Cheryle Kennedy. “We appreciate that TriMet included our people in this process because we have lived here for eternity.”

The $1.49 billion Orange Line came in on time and under budget in the range of $48 million. To celebrate today’s Orange Line opening, all transit is free all day, including TriMet service, Portland Streetcar and Portland Aerial Tram.

TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane thanked all of the partner agencies and key stakeholders that supported the project. “The Orange Line and nearby bus service means more service and better connections for our riders to get to jobs, school and other community activities.”

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer added, “Congratulations to everyone who worked hard to make this day a reality! The Orange Line and Tilikum Crossing are a game changer, connecting streetcar to downtown and Portland to Milwaukie. This happens once in a lifetime. Let’s capture this momentous occasion by making it the catalyst for the next projects that will connect neighborhoods and our region, creating jobs and building stronger livable communities.”

The 7.3-mile Orange Line extends from Portland State University, South Waterfront, across Tilikum Crossing to Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County. The new line expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations. It adds another major transit option, especially with the metro area expected to add another 400,000 people in the next 20 years.

“The completion of the Orange Line will ease commutes for thousands of Oregonians, reduce congestion on our highways and spur immense economic growth throughout the entire area,” said Congressman Kurt Schrader. “I’m very excited for the line to begin running as many Oregonians within the 5th District will benefit.”

The Orange Line is TriMet’s most sustainable light rail construction project. It has features such as an eco-track, stormwater treatment, eco-roofs, rooftop solar panels, habitat restoration and regenerative energy storage.

The MAX Orange Line is officially open!

The MAX Orange Line is officially open!

About $65 million was invested in new and improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, which includes 10.3 miles of new or improved sidewalks, 7.8 miles of new or improved bicycle facilities and 446 bike parking spaces with two secure Bike & Rides.

The project also gave a boost to the local economy, creating more than 14,000 family-wage jobs. The added employment occurred at a time when the region needed them most during the Great Recession.

I’m excited to celebrate the grand opening of the Orange Line,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “This project has created thousands of jobs, and it will benefit Oregonians for years to come. The investment of federal resources on this important project helps the state’s economy and builds critical infrastructure for our communities.”

One major infrastructure addition to Portland’s skyline is Tilikum Crossing—the only bridge of its kind in the U.S. carrying MAX light rail and Portland Streetcar trains, buses, bicyclists, pedestrians, but no private vehicles.

“The Orange Line is a clear example of what can happen when the Federal Government works with state and local partners to make smart investments and expand our transportation system so that we can move people and goods more efficiently,” said Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “I will continue to work at the Federal level to boost critical investments so we can begin to rebuild existing infrastructure and invest in a 21st century transportation system.”

Others dignitaries who participated in the grand-opening ceremony included the mayors of Portland and Milwaukie, Metro, Oregon Department of Transportation and Clackamas County Commission.

“The MAX Orange Line will make a huge difference in the quality of life of thousands of people in the greater Portland area, offering a one-of-a-kind, world-class travel option between north Clackamas County and downtown Portland,” said Acting Administrator McMillan. “This project demonstrates the power of public transportation to help transform a major American city and bring 21st century transportation options to a growing population and future generations.”

Catch the Orange opening day events!
Grand Opening celebrations funded by sponsors are being held at stations along the Orange Line. Visit for details.


TriMet’s most sustainable light rail project

The project employed an industry-leading approach to sustainable design, piloted new technologies and leveraged infrastructure to incorporate sustainable practices, environmental improvements and human-scale design. These improvements include:
• 286 bioswales to capture and filter 1.8 million square feet of stormwater
• $4 million in environmental mitigation funds
• 16 solar installation sites
• Eight green roofs
• The first vegetated trackway— eco-track—in the United States

The one area with the most sustainable features is the SE Park Ave Station and Park & Ride at the south end of the Orange Line in north Clackamas County featuring:

• The SE Park Ave Station is designed as a multi-modal center with both Park & Ride and Bike & Ride facilities and situated as a green gateway to the nearby Trolley Trail.
• The Park & Ride building has a rooftop solar array, making it a “net zero” facility. The array provides enough energy to offset annual electricity usage for basic building functions, such as powering the elevator and lighting.
• A rooftop garden helps manage stormwater runoff and improves air quality. All of the building’s stormwater runoff is captured and treated onsite, including the stormwater runoff from 2.5 acres of impervious surfaces surrounding the Park & Ride.
• 68% of the garage and station area is set aside for restored habitat.
• 102 bike parking spaces including a secure Bike & Ride facility.
• Seven electric vehicle charging stations will be used by TriMet and PSU to research travel patterns such as EV/transit linkage and last mile trips.
• Invasive plants were removed and native specifies planted to restore former habitats.
• TriMet and Urban Green member Chips Janger secured a Nature in Neighborhoods grant from Metro. The $350,000 helped improve habitat around the station area. Along with ODOT’s Storm Retrofit Grant, it revived a riparian forest habitat along the southwest edge of the station area. The Oak Grove community also benefits from a new ecosystem-based stormwater treatment system that was installed to treat and manage stormwater flows from SE McLoughlin Blvd and the Trolley Trail.
• The project team worked closely with North Clackamas County Park District to rebuild a segment of the Trolley Trail adjacent to the new MAX tracks, the station area and the Park & Ride. These enhancements include adding new plant species to improve aesthetics and diversity. The reconstruction required the removal of trees, but replaced with nearly four times the number of trees. Many of the removed trees were reused as milled wood, as firewood for Clackamas County seniors and low income residents, in habitat restoration, and for six sculptures of public art along the trail.

Powering the system

Siemens has installed the first regenerative energy storage unit in the U.S. on the Orange Line. The technology allows for energy created during braking to be stored and then re-used in one of two forms, energy savings or voltage stabilization during peak demand times. TriMet will utilize the system in voltage stabilization mode which will help avoid disruptions that can occur in mass transit operations if power drops below a certain level. Learn more about sustainability and the Orange Line.

The largest investment in active transportation in the U.S. related to a light rail project

More than $65 million was invested in active transportation infrastructure along the MAX Orange Line corridor. This likely makes it the largest investment of its kind in the U.S. related to a light rail project. It includes10.3 miles of new and improved sidewalks and 7.8 miles of new and improved bike facilities. It means pedestrians, bicyclists and the community will have high-quality facilities and crossings, improved access to Orange Line stations, new bike connections and a significant increase in bike parking. Learn more about the active transportation improvements that came with the Orange Line.

Record level of diverse contracting

The Orange Line created more than 14,000 family-wage jobs at a time when we most needed them during the recession. A record $175 million in contracts were secured by small firms and those owned by women and people of color (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise-DBE). DBE contracts exceeded 25 percent ($175m) of all contracts awarded on the project ($669m). The project contracted with 564 private sector firms that included 134 DBE firms. Learn more about the people and companies involved in the building of the Orange Line.

Tilikum Crossing – the only one!

Tilikum Crossing is the only bridge of its kind in the U.S. carrying MAX light rail and Portland Streetcar trains, buses, bicyclists, pedestrians, but no private vehicles. Learn more about this unique bridge.

Growing Places – creating livable communities with transit

TriMet and its partners work collaboratively together to help create livable communities with transit. Learn how collaboration between jurisdictions, agencies and
communities has created more than just a light rail line.

About the MAX Orange Line/Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

The 7.3-mile MAX Orange Line will improve transit along the corridor that extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County.
• 10 new MAX stations for a total of 97 stations systemwide.
• Expands the MAX system to 60 miles.
• 10 bus lines will be adjusted to make connections to Orange Line stations and more community connections.
• 446 new bike parking spaces, including 2 secure Bike & Ride facilities, at SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek and SE Park Ave stations.
• Two Park & Rides: 318 parking spaces at SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek Station and 401 parking spaces at SE Park Ave Park & Ride Garage and 9 EV spaces with chargers.

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.