By Tristan, Organizer-In-Training
Over the past few weeks, Bus Riders Unite members, Organizers-in-Training, and OPAL staff have been working hard on a number of campaigns related to creating an inclusive and equitable transit system. In June and July we attended TriMet board meetings, both times giving powerful testimony directly to TriMet’s board of directors and its president Bruce Warner. While at these meetings OPAL and BRU gain key insight into TriMet’s inner workings and policies as they relate to our campaigns. We were happy to see TriMet’s management signing on to the low-income fare program we have been championing for the past year-and-a-half. More excitingly, TriMet has approached parity with OPAL and BRU’s proposed timeline for the rollout of our low-income fare and the system should be ready for launch as soon as summer of 2018.
Regrettably, TriMet has also chosen to move forward with the construction of what OPAL calls its transit jail. This facility will be situated at the heart of the Rose Quarter transit center and will feature holding cells and an interrogation room. Despite this harmful expenditure of $12 million of public funds, OPAL is dedicated to the continuing fight for a demilitarized and decriminalized transit system. We will continue to hold TriMet’s managers and board of directors accountable to transit-dependent folks, the houseless community, and people of color who are often targeted by the Transit Police Division and TriMet security at a disproportionately higher rate. As part of this advocacy, OPAL has put on several “What is Safety?” events with another scheduled for mid-August where we have listened to frontline communities and the consensus is clear: More police do not equate to more safety.
OPAL and BRU continue to be dedicated to community outreach and invite all interested parties to join us in our upcoming events and activities – check out our new public events calendar to learn dates and times. We will have in-depth updates on our low-income fare program, debriefs from our recent community events and more information on our campaign to demilitarize transit. We hope to see you there!