Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Less than two weeks after TriMet cut bus service to the tune of $1.1 million, the transit agency’s board appears to be on the verge of approving nearly $1.4 million for office furniture.
TriMet's $1.4 million bill for new office furniture connected to Portland-Milwaukie light rail project: Commuter roundup |

This week’s agenda includes something called the “Moving Together” initiative, which says the new, smaller workstations will help create a “more modern, collaborative” environment as part of a huge TriMet remodeling and office move.
Mary Fetsch, a TriMet spokeswoman, said the office furniture will require considerably less leased space and will have “a one-time impact” to the general fund of $735,345.

The rest, she said, will be covered by federal and local matching funds from the  $1.49 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project.

So, how is it that the capital budget for the under-construction Orange Line covers new cubicles, chairs and desks?

Well, apparently, the light-rail project is causing a huge domino effect on workspace.

According to the resolution scheduled to go before the board for a vote on Wednesday, there’s not enough room for equipment needed to run the 7.4-mile line at TriMet’s light-rail command center in Gresham.

TriMet said there is no way to expand the 5,500-square-foot building. A new one would cost an estimated $11.5 million.

What’s more, the Holgate Plaza building at Southeast 17th Avenue and Holgate Street, which includes 18,646 square feet of leased space used by 45 operations employees, needs to be demolished to make way for the Orange Line.

As a result, the command center and Holgate Plaza staff will relocate to the current Center Street administrative building, which will require a $9.5 million renovation, TriMet said. That bill will be covered by the light-rail project’s construction budget.

The “moving together” won’t stop there.

Displaced by the new command center, administrative staff currently working out of the Center Street building as well as capital project staff currently in leased offices in the Lloyd District will relocate downtown.

TriMet plans to lease one and a half floors in the Harrison Square building at Southwest Harrison Street and First Avenue.
In the end, Fetsch said, it will be a smart consolidation of space. For instance, the square footage used by TriMet will drop from 122,327 to 117,402. What's more, a lot of people are losing their private offices (the number of offices is expected to go from 44 to 16).

And that means workstations will need to be smaller, TriMet says.

The transit agency said it investigated reusing its existing 20-year-old furniture. “TriMet calculated that reuse (requiring removal, disassembly, storage, reassembly, refurbishment and re-installation of the existing furniture) would be nearly as costly as replacement,” the resolution says.

Fetsch said the new amenities will result in 14,760 fewer square feet leased over reusing existing furniture.

Not only does the reduction of square footage save the agency an estimated $582,000 from current lease costs over 10 years, Fetsch said, “we’ll save $2 million on space that we would have had to lease in order to reuse the existing furniture.”

Other headlines from the world of traffic and transportation:


Steve Fung said...

Her comments and explanation are nauseating

Al M said...

Oh gawd I can't even believe she said them...

Ross Wrede said...

Why do they need office space anyway? Give those 248 people a laptop and cellphone and they can do their work while riding a bus or train all day. Eight hours would still be about 4 hours less than the average full time operator spends in the seat.

Anonymous said...

How right you are Ross, and that's no joke!