The problem was that if you can't identify those "experts" on sight, and it seemed that pretty much no one could, you'd find yourself finally making it up to a table to talk to someone only to realize that you were talking to the service planner when you really needed to be talking to the marketing guy. So then you'd go back into the fray to work your way over to who you should have gone to see in the first place. I didn't like this system. I'd love to know what kinds of questions other people were asking but it was so noisy and chaotic in there that communication was very difficult. This probably also meant that the TriMet staff was repeating the same answers over and over for several hours. I hope the future open houses are more organized to answer the frequently asked questions first and then allow the opportunity for people with specific, more detailed questions that aren't easily answered to be able to talk with the TriMet expert on that issue.
Randy Stedman was also there but I didn't see him talking with any of the public like the rest of the TriMet staff were (nor did he have a nametag on like they did), he mostly circled the room and talked to other TriMet staff. I guess he was there to answer union related questions if anyone had them, but I don't know if that happened.
Attached pictures, one is the pie chart in the back of the room explaining why there's a budget shortfall. I think it's funny that the union section of the pie is orange, when you consider that since TriMet is borrowing against future operation revenue to the tune of $60 million to pay for the Orange Line which is well over what the union is supposedly costing TriMet now.
The other picture I took at about 5pm on a Red Line to Beaverton from when I went out after the meeting. While it's not standing room only, it's pretty crowded when you consider that if these cuts pass as-is, this train would no longer be there since the Red Line will only go to Beaverton on weekday rush hour, not on weekends anymore.
NOTE-I agree that this sort of "presentation" does not serve the public at all. Participants don't get to hear answers from other citizens to improve the general understanding of the overall changes. One has to wonder if this was intentional, so as to keep people from 'organizing'.
Obviously the best way to handle this sort of thing is to make a presentation to everyone, the take answers from those present, with the correct person answering the question for all to hear.The presence of the new highly paid executive (Steadman) is curious, especially since he did not participate in the public discussion.