As the State Turns

stateturnssymbolTriMet Goes Electric
Well, more electric. Thanks to a federal grant for $3.4 million they were just awarded, the Portland area transit system will be purchasing four “New Flyer XE40 Xcelsior” electric buses (despite how it sounds, these are not space cruisers). Yes indeed, that’s battery power, holmies, dragging people’s as*es all over the place for a better, more carbon-free future.

Secured thanks to a big push from Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkly, the grant itself comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low and No Emission Vehicle De… ::yawns:: ployment program. The money forked over includes infrastructure upgrades for on-route charging, etc.

TriMet has suggested the purchase of more of these buses in the future if this first mini-fleet works out. In the meantime, I’ll continue to drive. Last time I took the Met I saw a dude and his weener was out. I know it’s Portland, but come on. Maybe they can tap into these bus batteries and make some kind of automatic electric #*@! shocker.

Another Train Derailment Update
It looks as if the oops keeps on oopsing. Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), not to be confused with Dairy Queen (DQ), has found elevated levels of benzene and other nasty stuff in the groundwater near the site of the accident. While it has been said that Mosier’s water supply is not at risk, as their wells are uphill from the site, local animals may not be as lucky.

According to an OPB interview with DEQ project manager Bob Schwarz, the benzene levels tested at about 10 times higher than even a minimally concerning level. Cleanup efforts are ramping up, but the details and the extent as such haven’t been set in stone.

Fun Times at UO High
You may remember that back in 2015, a female student reported being gang-raped by three basketball players. Later that year she received an $800,000 settlement from the school as the result of her records being released to university law ninjas in a clear violation of basic ethics.

A year or so later, Shelly Kerr, who was the head of the University of Oregon’s counseling department, was just slapped with a $2,500 fine from a state licensing board—though it was initially suggested to be double that. Oh well. She’s also been asked to take a six-hour class on professional ethics for essentially spitting on her own profession and screwing over a victimized student that came to her for help.

This is far from the whole story, of course. One Jennifer Morlok, a senior therapist at the counseling center, resigned during the initial dust-up because she claimed the school sidelined her, removed her responsibilities, etc. after pointing out the ethical violations. The drama on this one is deep and I highly recommend some back reading if you’re not familiar with what happened.

Kerr has the ability to appeal, but has yet to issue a statement one way or another. The University of Oregon has said that they will support her doing so if she so chooses. Not the same as supporting her. Gotta love language.

Portland’s BIKETOWN
Just three days into its launch, this fancy-pants bike share program (SHOP AT NIKE) saw nearly 1,400 people sign on the dotted line for annual memberships, and another 2,300 or so snagged a single ride or day pass thingy. Some sort of director or something of Motivate, the company behind BIKETOWN, was like, “Whoa, that’s a lot of people. Sweet.” I may be paraphrasing a bit.


Some vandalism of the new bikes has been reported, but vandalism of bicycles is like peanut butter and jelly. White on rice. Republicans on FOX.

Did I mention that Motivate runs an 8,000-bike share in New York City? (SHOP AT NIKE) Or that Nike is sponsoring things here in Oregon?

While we’re at it, did I mention what a bike share even is? Nope. And that’s because cool people already know. You’re not uncool, are you?

This article was brought to you by the folks at Nike, who love bicycles and sh*t and also made the best pair of shoes I’ve ever owned that were probably not made by a four-year-old.

By Johnny Beaver