ASSAULTS ON TRI-MET DRIVERS, FIGHTS AMONG RIDERS DROP ENFORCEMENT, CLASSES HELP RELIEVE PROBLEM, BUT IT'S `STILL OUT THERE' Newspaper October 30, 1987 Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) STAN FEDERMAN - of the Oregonian Staff Assaults on Tri-Met drivers and fights among bus passengers have been sharply reduced over the past four months as the agency has taken enforcement and training steps to bring the problem under control. ``We feel we've gotten a handle on things, and the situation is now looking much better,'' said Clyde Earl, Tri-Met director of transportation. However, Earl and transit union officials agree that although the situation is improving they cannot relax their efforts. ``The problem is still out there, and we can't say it's going to go away,'' said Tony Bryant, secretary-treasurer of Local 757 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents some 900 Tri-Met drivers. Earlier in the year, the agency's daily log of ``assaults, harassments and menacing incidents'' showed dramatic increases in all categories during the late winter and spring. The log includes reports of physical assaults or threats to a driver by a passenger. Also listed are incidents in which one passenger is assaulted or threatened by another. Late last year, for example, overall incidents totaled only six in November and nine in December, figures that union officials described as ``fairly normal'' monthly figures. In January, however, the number rose to 15. In February, the figure jumped to 42. The number went up again to 44 in March and then dropped off slightly to 35 each in April and May. As a result of changes by Tri-Met -- including stepped-up patrols, driver education and cooperation with local police -- incidents dropped to 24 in June, dipped to 19 in July, rose slightly in August to 22, and then dropped to 14 in September. ``All figures have been well below those of last winter and spring,'' Earl said. Earl noted that the assaults took many forms, ranging from passengers who spit in a driver's face to those who strike an operator. Weapons used include fists, purses and briefcases. The log has frequent entries for incidents in which a driver was not only struck by a passenger but also threatened with a weapon. Earl said that usually driver injuries from assaults have been relatively minor, such as a bloody nose or cut lip. Sometimes operators suffer minor burns when a passenger throws hot coffee on them. However, recently, a driver had to be hospitalized overnight for treatment of a knife wound in his chest, Earl said. The transit agency and union acknowledge that a 1986 decision to eliminate Tri-Met's police force probably was a key factor in the increase of assaults and fights. Recently, however, the agency rehired five transit policemen and began using its light-rail security officers on bus routes and its supervisors to beef up its surveillance of ``troubled'' bus lines. ``There isn't any specific route where the problem occurs; it is a systemwide situation,'' Earl said. However, he noted that some assaults occurred more on one line than another. He said that among lines that had reported assaults recently were No. 4-Fessenden, No. 72-82nd Avenue, No. 35-Oregon City, No. 12-Barbur Blvd., and No. 33-McLoughlin. Earl noted that the transit policemen, security officers and supervisors began riding buses in plain clothes -- ``and this has helped in spotting the troublemakers early and dealing with them.'' He noted that two dozen arrests have been made recently on buses. Tri-Met police and security personnel have regular police powers and can make an arrest on a bus for such specific charges as assault or attempted assault. Earl stressed that the agency had worked up strategies to bring local police jurisdictions quickly into play on a problem bus, and this also has brought a ``solid enforcement presence we haven't had before.'' He said that the agency also had been holding classes on ways for drivers to avoid confrontations -- and how to deal with them when they occur. ``These classes have given us great feedback from the drivers themselves on what's going on out there and the best ways to handle the problems,'' Earl said. Meanwhile, Bryant said the union would insist during preparations for the 1988-89 budget that the agency set aside funds to hire ``a great many more transit policemen.'' He said such a force was needed ``to help keep our drivers safe.''
CINDY KASSAB HAS A KEEN EYE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY \ Newspaper October 17, 1989 Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) NORM MAVES JR. - of the Oregonian Staff Summary: Cindy Kassab has a keen eye for photography and bus driving Cindy Kassab is either a skilled bus driver who takes gorgeous photographs or a photographer who drives a bus. From moment to moment she isn't really certain which. Neither is she certain that it matters. She loves both of her pursuits, and she's happy. What else matters? ``I don't wake up in the morning saying, `Aw, I don't want to go to work,' '' said Kassab, who lives in Vancouver, Wash. ``On some mornings I may wish I was at the coast taking pictures, but I never say that I can't stand the job. ``I really love my job. You can be your own boss, pick your own hours and days off, and if you do your job, nobody's going to hassle you.'' So Kassab spends her days in a rented photo processing lab and her nights wheeling her Tri-Met bus around route No. 52 between the Beaverton Transit Mall and Portland Community College's Rock Creek Campus. On her vacations, she loads her small four-wheel-drive pickup with camera gear and takes off for points both known and otherwise. She has been doing it for 13 years, dating back to 1976 when she wearied of a minimum-wage job and applied to Tri-Met. - Strange parallel It's a strange parallel. The hands and eyes that see and photograph award-winning nature scenes are the same ones that maneuver a 14-ton, 35-foot, 270-horsepower bus around the back country roads of Washington County. Kassab, 36, commands respect in each field. She knows driving. ``She's an excellent bus driver,'' said Steve Johnson, a public relations assistant at Tri-Met. ``She's won driver of the month twice. She gets along with the other drivers and with the people on her bus.'' She knows photography: ``She sells truly bril liantly,'' said Kate McKee, director of Portland's Gango Gallery, one of two galleries that show Kassab's work. ``Her work elicits an emotional response and brings out feelings of identification. People see it and think, `I've been there,' and `I've had those same feelings.' ``Her work is very romantic.'' Kassab has attracted some notice, and more than a few awards, in the past few years. Her ``Purple Mountain's Majesty'' shot, a sunset view of Mount Hood she took from a roadside on the mountain, won the gold medal for best color print in the Photographic Society of America competition at the Oregon State Fair in August. Her preoccupation with photography dates back to her high school days, when she spent three years surrounded by the picturesque Swiss Alps. But art for its own sake always has been part of her life. ``In some form,'' she said, ``I've always enjoyed art. When I was growing up, I always used my hands. I used to make paper flowers out of different colored tissues. ``I never really thought about photography. I had an Instamatic camera, but then everybody had one of those. I never thought about making a career out of it.'' - Wanted to travel What Kassab wanted to do was make a career out of travel. It made sense: She had been all over Europe by the time she finished high school. She traveled from her Los Angeles home to attend three years of high school in Switzerland. When she graduated in 1971, her family had moved north to Portland, so she looked for a local college and found the University of Portland. A permanent memory of her European travels stayed with her in the form of post cards and calendars, with their bright, daylit panoramas. ``I was really taken by the beauty of Switzerland,'' she said, ``so I found myself collecting post cards a lot. I think collecting post cards and calendars helped me get an eye for composition. ``When you look at all that stuff, it gets ingrained in you.'' But first things first. She got a degree in French in 1975, then went to work. A year later, she signed on with Tri-Met. ``I got in it for the money, I guess,'' she said. ``I thought I could learn to drive a bus, so I tried. I liked it from the first day I tried it.'' By then Kassab had her first 35mm single-lens reflex camera. It was a college graduation present to herself, and just a toy until she ran across another driver who was a fanatic about photography. He introduced her to darkroom work and to the peripatetic lifestyle of nature photography. Her first influence was Ray Atkeson, but gradually, she developed her own style. She owes much of her style to the influence of the French impressionist painters of the 1920s. She likes the softness. ``I just love to look at them in the galleries,'' she said. ``It's like lotion to the eyeballs. I can't tell you why.'' - Catches the light The result is a portfolio of moody nature photos. Kassab loves to catch lighting early in the morning and in the late afternoon. Fog fascinates her. She will go just about anywhere to get a good sunset or sunrise shot. Four years ago she loaded up the car and wove through southern Canada on her way to the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. She put in 13,000 miles in 30 days just to take some pictures. If she could afford it, she would take a year off of work and just wander around Canada -- yes, there's a fixation at work here -- taking photographs. There's no real hurry. Kassab is content just where she is, motoring around Washington County at night and taking pictures by day. ``I like the bus job,'' she said. ``It's nice having a paycheck every two weeks, and I like that security. Then there's the people contact -- there are a lot of regulars you can joke with and have fun. Some of them want me to look at the pictures of their trip.'' The 3 to 11 p.m. shift on the bus is a perfect time for Kassab to see some of that soft evening twilight she loves so much, but she doesn't carry her camera gear with her. When she drives, she drives; when she shoots, she shoots. But now and then the twain do meet when she sees a great photo opportunity on her route. Reflexively, she winces; she knows the opportunity will never be quite the same again. ``I was coming down Hillsdale once,'' Kassab said. ``There was a fog just rising up off the Willamette River. It was beautiful -- I could have spent a couple of hours shooting it, but I was driving. ``It was so beautiful I almost screamed. If the bus had been empty I would
KEEP THE MOTOR RUNNING, HONEY Newspaper April 1, 1990 Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) MARGIE BOULE - of the Oregonian Staff So you want a little adventure? Want to save lives? Risk your own? Want to see the world? (Well, at least the metro area. . . .) Sign up with Tri-Met. Susan Cottrill did. Susan drives a Tri-Met bus now, on line 54. Out to Beaverton, back to Portland. Out to Beaverton, back to Portland. You wouldn't think to call the job exciting, but then just by looking at her, you'd never suspect Susan was recently the driver of a getaway bus. Susan's brush with the law occurred last Tuesday, ``at 1:08 in the afternoon, at the corner by the Greyhound station.'' Susan always gives exact times and locations; when you're a bus driver, you know exactly where you were at exactly what time. ``I had pulled up to the stop sign, and this man comes and knocks real heartily on the bus door. I don't normally pick people up at the stop sign -- it's not a bus stop -- but he seemed pretty anxious to get on the bus,'' says Susan. So Susan opened the door, and the man jumped in. The man said, ``Thanks, honey.'' ``I told the guy I was only going around the corner,'' but that didn't seem to bother him. Susan says as she pulled around the corner, the man walked to the back of the bus, put on some sunglasses and began counting money. ``It was a big stack of it,'' says Susan. ``I remember thinking that if he hadn't used his bus pass to get on, he would have had no trouble making the fare.'' As she'd said, Susan parked the bus just around the corner from where the man had boarded. It was time for Susan's 15-minute break. She planned to go into Union Station to use the facilities. Susan turned off the bus engine. ``Hey, honey,'' said the man at the back of the bus. ``Aren't you going any farther?'' ``I said to him, `I told you I was only going around the corner, honey.' I gave that honey stuff right back to him,'' says Susan. Susan says the man got up to leave, saying ``Well, baby, I can't sit here all day. I've got things to do.'' He got off the bus. Susan watched him walk back around the corner. She saw him drop something in the bushes along the sidewalk, and then suddenly he was surrounded by security guards from the bus station. ``One of the security guards came back and got the money he'd dropped in the bushes,'' Susan says. It turns out the man had just robbed the bus station. Moments later, the police arrived and arrested Susan's passenger. ``You'd probably like to talk to me,'' Susan told a police officer. ``That man just tried to make a getaway on my bus.'' So the officer took down the details. And then the police took Susan's passenger away. It's been a week since Susan's brush with crime. The week has given Susan some perspective. ``I guess I don't stop to think anybody's going to be dangerous,'' says Susan. ``I see all kinds of things all the time in this job. I see muggings on the street and drug buys. But I never think about the passenger being dangerous. He could have been an armed robber, and here I was, calling him honey.'' Susan thinks the thief had a lot of nerve trying to escape on the 54 line. ``Talk about chauffeur driven,'' she says wryly. ``Getting away in a $250,000 limousine. ``This job is an education,'' says Susan. ``But this is the first time anybody's ever tried to make a getaway on my line. ``That I know of.'' And speaking of the 54 line. . . . Just a week before Susan had her run-in with the bus station robber, another driver on the same line helped a family get to Germany. Not by bus, of course. Diana Delano was working the early morning shift when she noticed a brown leather bag lying in the street at Southwest Sunset Boulevard and Martha Street. A passenger hopped off the bus, picked it up, and Diana stuck the bag beside the driver's seat. When she got downtown and stopped for her break -- that's right, at the same spot Susan picked up her bandit -- Diana pulled out the bag and looked in it. She found passports and German currency and plane tickets for a flight that was due to leave for Germany in a half-hour. Diana called her dispatcher. Tri-Met folks got busy and tracked down the Frank Nordt family at Portland International Airport, desperately trying to find their tickets and passports. Tri-Met had a road supervisor meet Diana's bus on her route, pick up the bag and race out to the airport. The Nordt family got their tickets, passports and currency five minutes before their flight left.
DRUNKEN RIDERS POSE TROUBLE FOR TRI-MET Newspaper December 13, 1987 Oregonian, The (Portland, OR) STAN FEDERMAN - of the Oregonian Staff During the holidays, law enforcement officials crack down hard on drinking drivers. But Tri-Met has a different problem to cope with -- the drinking bus rider. ``They are not that easy to spot when they come aboard, and they can cause a lot of trouble for our drivers,'' said Clyde Earl, Tri-Met director of transportation. Earl pointed out that drivers do not have the authority to force a drunk off the bus. However, they can usually radio ahead for police help and have the individual removed at a scheduled stop, usually on a disorderly conduct charge. On a busy bus line, a drunk passenger often boards undetected. That's what happened early Wednesday night on a No. 4-Fessenden bus that Tri-Met driver Larry Miller was driving in North Portland. A drunken juvenile slipped aboard at a busy intersection and quickly began annoying other passengers with loud and obnoxious behavior. Miller stopped the bus in the vicinity of Killingsworth and Albina streets, turned in his seat and told the youth to quiet down. Angry at the reprimand, the youth rushed up to the driver's area and smashed Miller in the face with a beer can, causing severe cuts around Miller's eye and lip. Miller radioed for police assistance and within minutes Portland policemen had apprehended the youth. Miller, 36, who has been a Tri-Met driver since 1984, was treated at Emanuel Hospital & Health Center for lacerations and released. He was recuperating Thursday at his White Salmon, Wash., home. The juvenile, who faces assault charges, was released to the custody of his parents. ``Nighttime drunks on our buses always present a problem,'' Earl said. ``We always get a major increase during the December holidays when there seems to be more drinking going on all over the city. The problem is out there, and we warn our drivers to be constantly aware of it.'' Assaults on Tri-Met drivers and fights among bus passengers have actually been reduced in recent months as the transit agency has taken steps, including the restoration of transit police services, to bring the problem under control. The assaults take many forms, ranging from passengers who spit in drivers' faces to those who actually strike an operator with a fist, a purse, briefcase or some other object. ``We believe we have a handle on it, but it's an ongoing effort,'' Earl said. ``The crazies are always out there, and we can't ever say that the problem is going to go away.'' Rich Ries, business representative for Local 757 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents some 900 Tri-Met drivers, said he believed that recent cooperative efforts between the agency and union to cope with the assault problem ``is finally paying dividends.'' Last December, for example, overall assault incidents involving drivers or passengers totaled only nine for the month. But in January, the figure rose to 15 and in February jumped to 42. The number went up again to 44 in March and then dipped slightly to 35 in April and May. Alarmed at the increased number of assaults, Tri-Met in June re-established a budget for a transit police force, something that had been eliminated a year earlier because of agency financial problems. The agency also began putting light-rail security officers on bus routes and using bus supervisors to beef up surveillance of ``troubled'' bus lines. Tri-Met and union officials credited the added policing power for an immediate drop in the number of assaults. Assault incidents dropped in June to 24, dipped to 19 in July, rose slightly in August to 22 and then dropped significantly to 14 in September. In October, the incidents decreased to 7 and were at 10 for November. Copyright (c) 1987 Oregonian Publishing Co.