(VIDEO) Twinkle with TriMet this holiday season, to Portland’s tree lighting and other festive events


TriMet can take you to and from many of the season’s celebrations, and trimet.org makes it easy to plan before you go

All the good cheer of the most wonderful season of the year tends to disappear in holiday traffic. But before your heart shrinks three sizes too small and your skin sprouts green shag, remember there’s an easier way around congestion with TriMet. In the spirit of the season, the biggest and most useful gift we can give riders is a convenient trip where we’re in the driver’s seat and finding parking isn’t an issue.

It wouldn’t be the holidays without crowds, which may lead to delays no matter how you decide to travel. Being patient will be important, especially when traveling to busy shopping destinations or during popular events. You can easily plan and track your trip at trimet.org. Just check trimet.org/alerts before you go.

Pioneer Square Tree Lighting Ceremony

This year’s holiday festivities start with the flip of a switch, as the City of Roses will once again turn into the City of Lights. Portland’s Tree Lighting returns to Pioneer Courthouse Square the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 24. The annual event will take place between 5:30-6:30 p.m. and feature a sing-a-long led by Thomas Lauderdale from Pink Martini, local musicians and chorale singers.

With as many as 15,000 on hand for the festivities, MAX platforms at and across from the square will be closed for safety from 3 p.m. until about 7 p.m., or when the crowds disperse. They include:

  • Pioneer Square North
  • Pioneer Square South
  • Pioneer Courthouse/SW 6th Ave Station

To reach the square, get off one stop before or after.

All MAX lines may experience minor delays due to the large crowd. Buses will detour off of SW 6th Ave. until about 7 p.m.

We will have extra personnel out during the tree lighting providing security and helping people get around. They will include bus and rail supervisors who serve multiple roles, including operator support, encouraging safe behavior and assisting riders with questions. Let them or other TriMet personnel know if you need help or if you have an issue to report.

If you see something out of the ordinary, you can text or call 503-238-7433 (RIDE), or submit a report online, to report a non-urgent concern directly to TriMet Security 24 hours a day. For an urgent concern, alert the operator or text or call 911 in an emergency.

Bus detours around Clackamas Town Center

The Clackamas Town Center’s parking lot can become busy during heavy holiday shopping. With the Clackamas Town Center Transit Center nearby and buses serving the parking lot directly, TriMet will detour buses around the Clackamas Town Center on the three busiest shopping days of the year.

The bus detours will be in effect between 1-6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, Saturday, Dec. 23, and Sunday, Dec. 24. The Clackamas Town Center Transit Center itself will remain open, and the bus detours will not affect MAX Green Line service.

The stops that will be temporarily closed (ID 13247 and ID 13248) are located off of Ring Road, which loops around the parking lot. The stop for eastbound Clackamas Town Center buses (ID 12921) will be moved to a temporary location between the entrance of the Cinema and Monterey Avenue.  From the temporary stop, buses will travel to the SE Fuller Rd MAX Station, where riders can transfer to the MAX Green Line.

At the Fuller Rd MAX Station, riders can board a Green Line train to continue to the Clackamas Town Center mall stop (ID 13132). Westbound buses will serve a temporary stop at the SE Fuller Rd MAX Station before continuing to the Clackamas Town Center Mall stop (ID 12922). We will have signs posted and customer service representatives out to help people make their connections if needed. Riders can also get off at the Clackamas Town Center Mall stop (ID 12922) and proceed about ½ mile to Clackamas Town Center Transit Center to board MAX.

Take TriMet to holiday events!

A new tradition is starting this year, with the City of Portland’s introduction of an ice rink and holiday marketplace, Woodsy Winter Village, near the west end of the Morrison Bridge. The marketplace and ice rink will be located on Southwest Naito Parkway between Harvey Milk and Morrison streets. They’ll be open from Dec. 16 through Jan. 28, with the ice rink operating from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through December except for Christmas Day. Stations for MAX Blue and Red line trains are located within a few hundred feet, as are stops for bus lines 15-Belmont/NW 23rd and 16-Front Ave/St Helens Rd. The Portland Transit Mall, with bus and rail service serving multiple lines, is also located less than half a mile away.

The always popular Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo has also returned through Jan 7, 2024. With the Washington Park MAX station, served by the MAX Blue and Red lines, located near the entrance of the Oregon Zoo, Zoo Lights remains an ideal destination for those looking to leave their car at home.

In Washington County, the annual Tree Lighting at Orenco Station will happen on Nov. 25 from 4-6 p.m, with the lighting itself happening at 5:30 p.m. The MAX Blue Line serves Orenco Station, as do bus lines 47-Main/Evergreen and 48-Cornell. 

The Spirit of Gresham Holiday Tree Lighting is set to dazzle and delight on Dec. 2 at the Arts Center, 488 NE Third Ave. The event starts at 5 p.m., with the tree lighting scheduled to happen at 6 p.m. The Arts Center is about a five minute walk from the Gresham Central Transit Center, which is served by MAX Blue Line as well as bus lines, 2, 9, 20, 21, 80, 81, 82 and 84.

There are many other events, marketplaces, festivals and concerts happening throughout the season, and we don’t want you to miss out. Check events calendars to see what’s happening near you and then go to trimet.org to see the best way of getting there.

Stay alert and use caution

There are bound to be a lot of distractions during the holidays. Don’t get so caught up that you aren’t being safe, especially at MAX and road crossings. Look both ways and make sure an umbrella, hood or other clothing doesn’t block your view. And if you can, bring a light or reflective clothing to help our operators and other drivers see you better. It’s going to be dark and busy, so stay alert, safe and seen.

While riding, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, let us know. Text or call 503-238-7433 (RIDE) to report non-urgent security concerns 24 hours a day. For emergencies, alert the operator or contact 911. Learn about other efforts to make your ride safe at trimet.org/security.