OTREC welcomes TriMet to the neighborhood

Jon Makler gives a welcome and introduction presentation for TriMet executives.

OTREC hosted a “welcome to the neighborhood” reception last week for managers of TriMet.

The regional transit provider for Portland, Ore, just relocated its offices to a building near the OTREC headquarters. TriMet's arrival in Harrison Square, just a few blocks from PSU in downtown Portland, was toasted by an informal gathering: TriMet executives were invited to the OTREC offices Tuesday, Oct 29 for a meet-and-greet.

The two agencies are both deeply involved with transportation in the Portland region, and since they're going to be neighbors now too, OTREC's education and technology transfer program manager Jon Makler arranged the event.

Several members of TriMet's senior staff joined OTREC staff and researchers for an hour of refreshments, research briefings, and a few rounds of "Transit Route Bingo."

OTREC Director Jennifer Dill and TriMet's Olivia Clark, head of government relations, kicked off the meeting with some welcoming remarks, then Makler gave the TriMet managers a brief powerpoint presentation, explaining the various overlapping areas of transportation at PSU. He introduced them to OTREC, IBPI, and PORTAL, and the role each group plays.

The presentation also featured a slide for each faculty researcher, explaining their areas of special interest and highlighting the variety of research pursuits that are available at PSU.

"By bringing [the two agencies] together, we helped form some new relationships and discover new connections that could, in turn, foster new research ideas," Makler said. As if to illustrate this possibility, OTREC's resident bicycle-count researcher, Krista Nordback, got into a conversation at Tuesday's reception with one of the people involved in the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project, about the idea of studying how the new bridge will affect bicycle traffic patterns.

"This was a great way for us to find out what people at TriMet are thinking about in terms of research and show them what people at PSU are capable of," Makler said.

Both OTREC and TriMet staff walked away from the meeting with positive energy, and some with prizes as well: Jennifer Dill won the transit route bingo for Portland State, with a mug and sticker for a prize, and TriMet's Eric Hesse won a glow-in-the-dark Viking hat.

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