TriMet celebrates first new MAX station in 9 years following A Better Red construction near Gateway


Monday, March 4, marks the opening of the Gateway North MAX station and end to major construction between Gateway and PDX

The Gateway Transit Center reopened to MAX trains Monday, March 4, with its first expansion in nearly 40 years. Community leaders were on hand, not just to celebrate the end of a weeks-long disruption to the MAX Blue, Green and Red lines, but also the conclusion of a major milestone in a multi-phased MAX reliability project that began two and half years ago.

Joining TriMet General Manager Sam Desue Jr. Monday were Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Metro Council President Lynn Peterson and Port of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold.

The opening-day celebration marks yet another step toward completing the A Better Red MAX Extension and Reliability Improvements Project.

From left to right: Port of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Metro Council President Lynn Peterson, TriMet General Manager Sam Desue Jr.

Thanks to A Better Red, MAX Red Line trains are now traveling on a double set of tracks between the Gateway area and Portland International Airport. This improves reliability across the entire MAX system. Red Line trains heading to Downtown Portland and farther west now have a faster, more efficient route and serve a new station, Gateway North.

“The new station allows for more efficient travel from PDX to Downtown Portland. That is important as we look to the future and revitalizing our region’s economy,” TriMet General Manager Sam Desue Jr. said. “During this pivotal time in our city’s history, investments in infrastructure projects — such as A Better Red — and attracting events and visitors will improve our economy, combat climate change, promote equity, and connect people to jobs, services, venues and opportunity.”

“TriMet’s improvements to the MAX Red Line, including the opening of the new Gateway North MAX Station, are an important step to ensuring Portland has a world-class public transportation system,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “This project not only contributes to our city’s economic resiliency but will also significantly broaden residents’ access to employment and essential services, reinforcing our dedication to creating a more connected, equitable, and thriving city for all Portlanders.” 

“I’m proud of the partnership we have with TriMet, as investments in public transit is an investment in climate action,” City Commissioner Carmen Rubio said. “Investments like A Better Red and TriMet’s other transit-oriented development work demonstrates a shared commitment with the city to sustainability that addresses both our climate and housing crises.”

Building strong connections

The Gateway Transit Center is where the A Better Red project kicked off with a groundbreaking near where the pedestrian path is now located. The project that followed has been made possible through a $99.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and financial support from local partners.

Metro allocated nearly $9 million in formula-federal funds to the project, and the Port of Portland provided another $2.3 million. Altogether, federal and local partners contributed about half of the overall cost of the project.

“The A Better Red project is an important step forward in making our transportation system safer, easier to use and more reliable,” Metro President Lynn Peterson said. “Extending the Red Line further into Washington County (later this summer) means more travel options for commuters on the west side, cutting travel times throughout the Tualatin Valley. And it improves access to important destinations like downtown Portland, the Oregon Convention Center, the Oregon Zoo and Portland’s Centers for the Arts.”

A Better Red has been TriMet’s largest MAX construction project since the MAX Orange Line and Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, opened in 2015. Due to its scope, the MAX Red Line project required years of planning, coordination and construction to execute on existing rail lines and across busy freeways.

With ODOT’s support, TriMet was able to build new bridges over I-84. Three partial closures of I-84 were necessary to put the bridge spans in place. This was critical to the success of the project. We appreciate drivers’ patience during these brief closures.

TriMet appreciates our partnership with the Port of Portland, which made last summer’s 126-day shutdown–our longest ever–possible. During that phase of the project, crews added roughly half a mile of new track and rebuilt the Portland International Airport MAX Station to accommodate the new track. We again thank those who were heading to and from the airport during that time, such as airport employees, for putting up with those challenges for four months.

“Today’s opening makes it easier for people to get in and out of PDX quickly,” Port of Portland Executive Director Curtis Robinhold said. “The MAX Red Line improvements are going to bring more accessible, efficient transit to everyone who lives in and visits our region.”

Moving people

The re-opening of the Gateway Transit Center and grand opening of Gateway North mark the end of major construction of A Better Red on the east side. Since the project broke ground began in fall 2021, crews had been working on a series of major changes between Gateway and Portland International Airport, a stretch of the MAX system that is now more than two decades old.

A partial list of improvements made over the past two years include:

  • Adding new track and systems in the Gateway area
  • Building new bridges over I-84 and existing tracks to carry trains, pedestrians and cyclists. (The pedestrian and cyclist portion of the bridges will open later this spring.)
  • Constructing the Gateway North MAX Station
  • Creating a pedestrian path connecting Gateway North to the main Gateway Transit Center
  • Adding a half mile of new track near Portland International Airport
  • Rebuilding and improving the Portland International Airport MAX Station to accommodate the new track
  • Creating a new pathway to Gateway Green, the nearby park popular with cyclists

With the MAX Blue and Green lines also shut down since Jan. 21, crews also made improvements to the MAX system that runs along I-84, modernizing and replacing older equipment.

We’re also excited to see improvements to the new pathway to Gateway Green, the nearby park popular with cyclists. It will open this summer. We appreciate the partnership with Portland Parks and Recreation, Friends of Gateway Green and the Northwest Trail Alliance, as impacts were necessary for A Better Red and a better Gateway Green.

Final disruption approaches — March 16-24

One more planned disruption for the A Better Red project is scheduled for the MAX Blue Line in Hillsboro from Saturday, March 16, through Sunday, March 24.

The disruption is needed to extend the MAX Red Line 10 stations from Beaverton Transit Center to Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport, which we expect to open in late August. With most of the construction on the west side completed, crews will use the disruption to finish signal work.

The disruption will be limited to the MAX Blue Line in Hillsboro. For all other lines, trains will be running on their regular schedules and continue serving all of their stations. TriMet will have On-Street Customer Service personnel and other staff available to help riders make their connections during the disruption.

A Better Red

We look forward to the full completion of A Better Red with extended MAX Red Line service this summer. It will mean even more people will have a one-seat ride to the airport and increase MAX service for those living on the west side.

Partnerships have been key to the project’s success, and there is no greater partnership than with our riders. A Better Red would not be possible without them! Thank you for your patience as we’ve moved forward on these critical improvements to our rail system to help more people ride. Every time someone leaves their car at home for a shared ride on transit, it’s better for our environment and our community. For more about A Better Red, go to