We Demand A Halt to TriMet GM Hiring Process

OPAL and our community stand in solidarity to demand that TriMet halts their rushed process of selecting a new General Manager. We have gathered signatures of regional and local elected officials, organizational leaders, and community activists who know this decision came too quickly and with an underwhelming result. Read the letter below. If you or your organization would like to sign onto this letter, email orlando@opalpdx.org or call (503) 774-4504. Check back for updates as we continue to fight

January 19th, 2018

To President Bruce Warner and the TriMet Board of Directors,

We write to you today as local stakeholders with deep ties to the transit system you oversee.

TriMet’s 2016 Title VI Equity Program Update describes TriMet’s commitment to removing barriers to participation for historically marginalized communities as required by the Federal Transit Administration. The document says of Equity, “It is embedded in the investments we make and partnerships we build, our workforce, our approach to contracting and our ever growing connections to our community. In partnership with our Transit Equity Advisory Committee, we continue to look for areas across the agency to improve our overall equity strategy. Continuing to invest in transit equitably and embracing an inclusive model where equity is a core business objective is critical to TriMet.” This is a statement which must be turned into action and be reflected in the hiring of the new General Manager.

For this and the reasons outlined below, we request that the TriMet Board immediately halt the rushed process of hiring a new TriMet General Manager:

  1. Lax Community Engagement – TriMet initially discussed community engagement opportunities. Unfortunately, this opportunity to influence the hiring decision was merely a presentation on the hiring process. Riders’ input has obviously had no impact on the process. Considering that this position sets the direction of the agency, and has direct impacts on transit dependent people, TriMet must improve its community engagement efforts on the General Manager hiring process.
  2. Advancing a Single, Internal Candidate – Only a single candidate has been advanced to the final round of the hiring process. TriMet claims that equity is embedded in many aspects of their work. We are concerned how TriMet has integrated equity in this hiring process. We would expect that an agency of this size in our region would exercise its commitment to equity by recruiting a diverse candidate pool which reflects its own ridership. The ‘Rooney Rule’ is one approach that could have been undertaken; what lens was used in promoting, recruiting and outreaching for this critical hire? Were people of color and women candidates considered? Were any of the three finalists women or people of color?
  3. Advisory Committee Involvement – Transit Equity Advisory Committee (TEAC) and the Committee on Accessible Transportation (CAT) are TriMet’s in-house committees overseeing equity policies and practices within the organization. Despite a professed commitment to partnering with both committees to advance equity and accessibility, both committees had little to no input on this hiring decision. TEAC requested a meeting with the candidates, but it did not materialize. TEAC and CAT are committees whose membership are made of representatives who are accountable to their respective communities. These committees need to have a meaningful role in the hiring process.
  4. Board Involvement and Accountability – As the appointed leaders of this agency, this board needs to involve a wide range of stakeholders. Each board member represents a district that encompasses a wide range of diversity and experiences from which board members can tap into for guidance. This process does not show leadership that involves voices of directly impacted communities; instead this process demonstrates a pattern of disengagement from stakeholders and community.

As stakeholders of this transit agency we need a more inclusive and transparent hiring process that engages directly impacted communities. Such a process needs to be grounded in equity and be representative of the communities TriMet serves. We challenge TriMet to show this region a better process moving forward.


State Representative Diego Hernandez

Kathryn Harrington
Metro Councilor, District 4, Metro Regional Government

Chloe Eudaly
Commissioner, City of Portland

Joelle Davis
Council President, Tualatin City Council

Ana del Rocío
Board Member, Position 1, David Douglas School District

Huy Ong, Executive Director
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

Kayse Jama, Executive Director
Unite Oregon (formerly Center for Intercultural Organizing and Oregon Action)

Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director

Shirley Block, President
Amalgamated Transit Union 757

Doug Moore, Executive Director
Oregon League of Conservation Voters

Adriana Voss-Andreae, Executive Director

Mary Peveto, President
Neighbors for Clean Air

Kasandra Griffin, Executive Director
Community Cycling Center

Kelly Campbell, Executive Director
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Romeo Sosa, Executive Director
Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project

Andrea Durbin, Executive Director
Oregon Environmental Council

James Ofsink, Board Member
Portland Forward

Kari Schlosshauer, Senior Policy Manager
Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Mary Kyle McCurdy, Deputy Director
1000 Friends of Oregon

Ahlia Young, Organizing Committee
Portland’s Resistance

Adam Lyons, Executive Director
Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods

Bob Tackett, Executive Secretary Treasurer
NW Oregon Labor Council

Erica Mattison, Executive Director

Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Director of Development and Communications
Centro Cultural de Washington

Burgerville Workers’ Union

Portland Bus Lane Project

Sarah Iannarone, Former Mayoral Candidate, Businessowner

Aaron Brown, Transportation Advocate, North Portland

Steve Bozzone, Owner, Bozz Media

Julia DeGraw, Candidate, Portland City Council, Position 2

Lake Thelen, Waste Reduction Educator, Resource Conservation & Recycling

Ryan Hashagen, Owner, Icicle Industries

Jenny Glass, Executive Director, Rosewood Initiative

Posted in Against Enclosure of Wealth and Power, Against Exploitation, Against Extraction, Against Militarization, Against White Supremacy, Bus Riders Unite, Coalition Building, Transit Justice.