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We’re celebrating 30 years of MAX! Here’s how it all began, where we are today, and what we’re looking forward to.

In 1974, Southeast Portland residents rejected a proposed eight-lane freeway that would have destroyed many neighborhoods, and officials decided to put the money toward transit instead.

At a time when pavement and parking lots were measures of a city’s growth, this was a pioneering decision that marked a new way of thinking about how transportation affects our quality of life. And it led to the creation of MAX, one of the first modern light-rail systems in the country. On Sept. 5, 1986, MAX debuted with 15 miles of track between Gresham and Portland.

Today, with five lines covering 60 miles, MAX has transformed how many of us get around. Not only does it help reduce traffic congestion and keep our air cleaner, MAX has been a huge economic boost for the region, attracting more than $13 billion in development near its stations to date.

Did you know?


MAX has become a national model for community support, land-use/transportation planning, public art and environmentally friendly construction practices.
MAX ridership continues to grow.
More than $13.2 billion in development has occurred along MAX lines since the decision to build in 1978.
All six MAX projects have been completed on or ahead of schedule, and on or under budget.
MAX takes cars off our roads, helps keep our air clean and preserves neighborhoods and livability.