Key Events Leading to TriMet’s Formation


Rose City Transit assumes city routes of Portland Traction Company. Region-wide, transit ridership declines from approximately 60,000,000 in 1950 to approximately 18,000,000 in 1969.

May 1962

Voters reject ballot measure calling for public ownership of the municipal transit system.

Jan. 1, 1963

Effective start date of new 10-year franchise contract between Rose City Transit and the City of Portland (Ordinance 115674). Provides that the City may acquire the real property, plant, and equipment of the company at “fair value.”

Nov. 1, 1968

New labor contract between Rose City Transit and ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) Local 757 takes effect. Includes a 20-cent wage increase to take effect May 1, 1969.

Nov. 15, 1968

Rose City Transit applies to the City for a fare increase.

Dec. 12, 1968

City grants part of requested fare increase on “interim” basis, but serves notice of revocation and termination of franchise, effective June 12, 1969, “for the cause that fare increases above the present … level cannot reasonably continue indefinitely as a matter of public good and interest; that … possible future increases will result in such additional loss of patronage as to render the mass transit service within the city economically unfeasible and unreasonable….” Rose City Transit subsequently files suit.

Jan. 14, 1969

Mayor Terry Schrunk appoints a seven-member Mass Transit Advisory Commission: Leland Johnson, chairman; Mary A. McCravey; George Brown; Jack Meier; William E. Roberts; Alvin Batiste; and Al McCready.

Mar. 24, 1969

HB1808 introduced in the 55th Oregon Legislative Assembly by House Committee on Urban Affairs. Several other bills, involving the Port of Portland or a new Metropolitan Service District in transit service provision, are also under consideration.

Nov. 19, 1969

Rose City Transit proposed turning its operation over to City and Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet), while maintaining title until legal resolution of fair value and pension claims are worked out.

Nov. 28, 1969

TriMet agrees to Rose City Transit proposal, and Memorandum of Understanding is agreed to between City and Rose City Transit, whereby Rose City Transit will turn over its property to the city at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 1, 1969, and the city will immediately transfer same to TriMet. A driver walk-out threatened to begin within 48 hours is averted.

Dec. 1, 1969

TriMet begins operation, a day after Local 757 approves a new 19-month labor contract.

Dec. 18, 1969

TriMet board adopts payroll tax (TriMet Ordinance No. 2).