TriMet’s proposed code revisions would allow for stiffer penalties for prohibited behavior

Oct. 28, 2022
The agency says the ordinance address behavior and would not change penalties for fare evasion.

TriMet is proposing changes to the TriMet Code that would impose stiffer penalties for prohibited behavior-based conduct on the transit system. Ordinance 369 would not change penalties associated with fare evasion but would expand the types of offenses that could result in long-term exclusions from the system.

“With the challenges happening in the community today, issues such as vandalism, crime, drug use and mental health are at a tipping point and, at times, spill over onto the transit system, despite agency efforts,” said TriMet Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Todd. “TriMet is working on a strategy to better address inappropriate behavior on the system, better support our operators and other employees, improve the cleanliness of our vehicles and property and pursue coordinated efforts with external partners to address social issues and ensure safe access to transit.”

TriMet Code already includes felonies under the scope of behaviors included in the agency’s long-term exclusion policy and the proposed revision would include attempted felonies and Class A misdemeanors, which includes fourth-degree assault, some bias crimes, public indecency, possession of a hoax destructive device and harassment that includes offensive sexual contact.

The revisions would remove the distinction between first and second offenses. This would leave the discretion with TriMet’s general manager to levy a type of long-term exclusion or even a permanent ban. TriMet notes that it has only permanently excluded one person since it instituted long-term exclusions more than five years ago. Anyone who receives a long-term exclusion does have the right to appeal it annually.

TriMet says the proposed revisions would also further address chronic offenders, which is defined as a person with three or more violations for conduct within a 90-day period. Chronic offenders would be eligible for a long-term exclusion of up to two years if they have repeatedly committed Code violations for behavior and have not changed their behavior despite multiple attempts by TriMet to dissuade such conduct. TriMet reiterates, fare evasion is not included in this change.

TriMet explains that it aims to keep both its operators and riders moving safely, and it’s important to have a means to hold people accountable for inappropriate, threatening or dangerous behavior. While the district attorney’s office determines punishments for crimes, those punishments don’t always include long-term exclusions from TriMet.

A second reading of Ordinance 369, followed by a Board vote, will occur at the Board’s Dec. 14 meeting.

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May 17, 2013