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Thursday, August 9, 2012

They Tri your patience

A concerned reader writes:

Afternoon of August 8, a Tri-Met bus came off a side street (marked with a stop sign) onto NE Shaver around NE 132nd causing a collision with a car driven by an older Hispanic gentleman who spoke almost no English.

After the Tri-Met investigating officials determined that the driver of the damaged car was not injured and indeed had a current driver's license and appropriate insurance, the officer assigned to Tri-Met announced to the Hispanic gentleman, "We have to clear the street… you've got to move your car."

A local resident warned all present that among other damage, the collision had caused the car's radiator to empty onto the street and that further damage would be done if someone tried to drive it. Neither of the healthy-appearing Tri-Met male officials offered to help the driver push the car to the side of Shaver where it would be accessible to a tow truck.

I left the scene at this point, wondering how Tri-Met crash investigators felt it appropriate to demand that this older driver push his immobilized car from the center of the street by himself when the crash was caused by the Tri-Met driver. I don't know how the problem of moving the car from the center of the street was resolved, but I hope Tri-Met's next victim isn't an 8-month pregnant woman.

Comments (18)

Soooooo... did the concerned reader help push the car? Just curious.

Sounds like the reader did not.

That's an interesting anecdote.

Here is another one: on the morning commute on the 35 about a month ago at Interstate near Widmer a middle aged female biker took a nasty fall (her own fault) that the driver noticed. Fortunately she was wearing a helmet but she was scraped up pretty bad and a little disoriented. The driver pulled up alongside her, and asked if she was ok. She was pretty disheveled. The driver waited with her at the next stop until an ambulance arrived on the scene. Made me about 15 minutes late for work but it was the right thing to do.

I guess I'm one of the few people around these parts who generally doesn't loathe taking the bus. I work downtown and it picks me up about two blocks from my house and delivers me at the front step of my workplace in about a half an hour vs a 20 minute drive on my own. Sure there are some weird dirty smelly people on there I wouldn't normally like to associate with but I have been able to finish some pretty good books in the one hour daily round trip (currently on Capote's In Cold Blood after just finishing Slaughterhouse Five last week). Have never feared for my safety or felt unbearable discomfort in the 10 months of riding. Yeah, there are sometimes huge crowds and loud teenagers and bad air-conditioning but nothing too heinous.

As a recent brain-surgery patient who can't drive for another couple of months it has been a true life-saver.

On that note, I won't be posting this on the Trimet propaganda blog unless they make me an offer I can't refuse.

On the 8, they don't just read "In Cold Blood," they re-enact it.

The Tri-Met Machine, from tip to tail, give us plenty of reasons to love and loath them. After being a rider for years I got so disgusted with delays, broken buses, ticket machines that do not work and a management that does not care I bought a car and have not used it since. Some good people work there but the service has declined so much that I would rather pay the gas than the fare.

Since there was significant property damage and a blocked street, was Portland Police not called?

I certainly would not move my vehicle, especially if a crime (even a traffic infraction) may have occurred, until police showed up. In this case if TriMet is advising the other motorist to move the vehicle, I would take that as "tampering with evidence". (And since the bus was a newer bus, I would have demanded the bus be held as evidence until the video recording could be removed and secured - NOT by TriMet but by qualified, independent law enforcement.)

I was once involved in a wreck and I got into a near screaming match with the first responding officer (who frankly was not even good enough to be a security guard). Eventually his supervising officer responded and directed him to write up the other driver (who later plead guilty to making an unsafe left turn)...had I not insisted, it would have been considered no-fault and I would have been left with the higher insurance premiums and on the hook for significant bills and losses, that ultimately were recouped from the other driver.

In this case, I'd let the TriMet folks tell me until they're blue that "they have to clear the street". If they're so interested they are welcome to call the police and report that their employee violated the law. Otherwise nothing would move.

While it was nice of the Tri-Met officer to order the driver of the car to move his car off the roadway, and did not provide help, I can't help but wonder if that particular officer had any legal right to do so? As best I know, Tri-Met officers can't hand out traffic citations, so at best his "order" sounds like a fancied-up request.

Would it be out of bounds if we find ourselves in this driver's situation in the future to insist that the Tri-Met officer help? And if no help is forthcoming, inform them that I'll wait for Portland PD to show up to assist and make a call to 911 to report the incident?

A number of years ago, a TriMet bus clipped a fiend’s car that was legally parked near a corner. TriMet then tried to get out of it saying the car was parked too far from the curb or something like that. The fact is that TriMet (the organization) challenges almost every crash, even the minor ones, whether or not it is the bus operators fault.

Likewise, there are many good bus drivers that go well beyond just driving the bus by providing help when help is needed.

Vintage Northwest passive aggressive, this. Don't get involved at the scene, but go home and write a long email about it impugning the morality of whichever party you didn't like, thus bolstering your own sense of virtue in the process.

They should just have jack-off booths on streetcorners in this town to deal with this sort of repressed, pointless nihilism. People like this could take a few steps and walk it off. Big Sis could have billboards: If you see something, yank something. These people aren't going to get involved anyhow, so at least this would be healthier for the population as a whole, since pot dispensaries obviously aren't working.

TR, your anecdote sums up the problem with TriMet (and most of the other bloated bureaucracies in Portland). Even when a mistake is made/it's clear a bad actor is present, the agency defends itself/the bad employee to the death because of inability to admit mistakes, union pressures, and a host of other factors. I've had positive interactions with almost all the TriMet/police/city workers I've dealt with, but keeping the bad apples doesn't do the good ones or the city any favors.

I bought a car and have not used it since.

So, why did you buy it?

An empty cooling system might hurt the water pump, but the engine is unlikely to suffer any damage simply by driving it 30 seconds to the side of the road. He's more likely to have problems with sheet metal intruding into the wheel wells.

If the engine was still functioning and the transmission was able to engage, he could have driven it a short distance unless the wheels/transaxles were busted.

Max: I'm guessing he hasn't used Tri-Met since he bought a car. Not the other way around.

I can't help but wonder if that particular officer had any legal right to do so? As best I know, Tri-Met officers can't hand out traffic citations

There's no such thing as a "TriMet Officer".

TriMet has a "Transit Police Department", which is staffed by officers employed by the Cities of Portland, Gresham and Beaverton, and the Washington County Sheriff's Office, who are under assignment and contract to TriMet. Administratively the "department" is headed by a Portland Police lieutenant, and officers wear the uniform of their home department.

So, as a sworn police officer in the state of Oregon they can enforce any state law, PLUS TriMet code.

TriMet Transit Supervisors, on the other hand, can only cite someone for violating TriMet code. But they are not police officers, cannot carry a gun, don't drive cars marked "TRANSIT POLICE", etc.

did the concerned reader help push the car?

The reader informs us that she is, in her words, "a decrepit elderly female."

Last week I heard a large *BANG* a block ahead on NW 23rd. As I approached the scene, I heard people talking about how a car had sideswiped a delivery truck. As I passed the car, I noticed that it was missing its right front quarter and the tire was completely flat. But before that I encountered at least six people hurrying away for fear that they would be asked to testify as witnesses.

Ya I love em and hate em too...
Having been an insider for 15 years I can tell you that they bring new life into the word: DYSFUNCTIONAL!

TR -- "A number of years ago, a TriMet bus clipped a fiend’s car that was legally parked near a corner..."

I'm no particular friend of Tri-Met, but hey, anything we can do to rout the fiends from our midst is a public service in my book.

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