MAX Orange Line

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     MAX Orange Line
Tilikum Crossing in August 2014.jpg
Tilikum Crossing under construction, August 2014
Type light rail
System MAX Light Rail
Status Under Construction
Locale Portland, Oregon
Termini Union Station
Stations 17 (plus 1 proposed future station)
Daily ridership 22,765 (Projected Year 2030)[1]
Website Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project
Opening September 12, 2015 (planned)
Operator(s) TriMet
Line length 7.3 mi (11.7 km)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC, overhead catenary
Route map
     Green Line /      Yellow Line
Union StationAmtrak
NW 6th & Davis
NW 5th & Couch
SW 6th & Pine
SW 5th & Oak
     Blue Line /      Red Line
Pioneer Courthouse
Pioneer Place
     Blue Line /      Red Line
SW 6th & Jefferson
SW 5th & Jefferson
Portland Streetcar NS Line
PSU/SW 5th & Mill
Portland Streetcar NS Line
PSU/SW 6th & Montgomery
PSU South/SW 5th & Jackson
PSU South/SW 6th & College
     Green Line /      Yellow Line
Lincoln/SW 3rd Ave
Portland Streetcar NS Line
South Waterfront/SW Moody Ave
Tilikum Crossing over Willamette River
OMSI/SE Water Ave
Portland Streetcar CL Line
Clinton St./SE 12th Ave
SE 17th & Rhine St
SE 17th and Holgate Blvd
SE Harold St (Future expansion station)
SE Bybee Blvd
SE Tacoma/Johnson Creek
SE Park Ave

The MAX Orange Line, also known as the Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Project, is a planned light rail line for the Metropolitan Area Express light rail system in Portland, Oregon, USA. It is currently under construction. The line is the second part of a two-phase transportation plan known as the South Corridor Project, bringing light rail service to Clackamas County. Starting in downtown Portland and following the Portland Transit Mall, the 7.3-mile (11.7 km) Orange Line will run between Union Station and Milwaukie, terminating at Park Avenue, just south of downtown Milwaukie.[1] The first construction work, related to the new Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River began on June 30, 2011,[2] and if the project continues to advance as currently scheduled, the line will open for service on September 12, 2015.[3][4][5]

The Orange Line will be built off the downtown terminus of the Green and Yellow Lines, at Portland State University. During planning and construction, the new bridge being built for the line used the temporary name of Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge,[6][7] but in April 2014 it was officially named Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People.[8] From there, the line will turn south and continue into Southeast Portland. The planned stations will serve the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Brooklyn neighborhood, and Milwaukie, Oregon through the McLoughlin Boulevard corridor. Part of the project includes moving the Milwaukie Transit Center off city streets and onto the former Southgate Theater property.


In the early 1970s, a light rail line was proposed in this corridor. It would have run from Downtown Portland via the Hawthorne Bridge to Oregon City, primarily along the old Portland Traction Company right-of-way. This route was to be the first of five light rail lines which would have run over existing rail lines in the Portland region. The hope was to get this Portland - Oregon City line running as soon as possible by using secondhand PCC streetcars from Toronto until brand new Boeing light rail vehicles could be obtained. The light rail line was shelved when the planned Mount Hood Freeway was canceled in the mid-1970s and the region's transportation planning redirected to transit alternatives to the Mount Hood Freeway in the Portland - Gresham corridor.

In the mid-1990s, light rail was planned again along much of this corridor as part of the proposed "South-North Light Rail" line which was to have run from Clackamas Town Center to Milwaukie, then north to Downtown Portland and along Interstate Avenue to Vancouver, Washington. In November 1994, "nearly two-thirds"[9] of voters in the Oregon part of the Portland metropolitan area voted in support of a $475 million bond issue to provide the local-area share (Oregon portion) of the project's estimated $2.8 billion cost.[9] However, three months later, a majority of voters in Clark County, Washington, rejected a bond issue to provide that county's $237.5 million share of the South-North project's funding,[10] leading eventually to those plans' being shelved. (Plans for a MAX line north from downtown Portland along Interstate Avenue were later revived, as the Yellow Line, but without the portion extending across the Columbia River to Vancouver, and this opened in 2004.)

Planning for light rail connecting Portland with Clackamas County later resumed. After public meetings it was decided that the first MAX line to Clackamas County should be along Interstate 205, from Gateway to Clackamas Town Center, but that this would be phase 1 of a two-part expansion of the MAX system, with a Portland–Milwaukie line as phase 2.[11] The I-205 line opened in 2009, as the MAX Green Line.

Meanwhile, planning for the Portland–Milwaukie line continued, including study of, and public input on, several different alternatives for the exact route. In 2008, the Locally Preferred Alternative was chosen. The MAX Light Rail to Milwaukie will terminate at Park Avenue station rather than Lake Road, as originally planned in 2003.[4]

On April 5, 2011, the Federal Railway Administration approved the start of the project's final design; at that time, design work was roughly thirty percent complete and projected to be finished in about a year.[12] The approval meant that TriMet could begin purchasing right-of-way and some construction materials.[12]

Construction began on June 30, 2011, initially limited to work at the site of Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River, but right-of-way preparation work (such as removal of trees) began in the southern part of downtown Portland in late September 2011.

In July 2013, the project reached 50-percent completion. The line is tentatively scheduled to open on September 12, 2015.[3]


Although only a long-term proposal at this stage, it is possible the line may one day reach Oregon City.[13] A branch may be built through the Powell Blvd./Foster Road corridor to the recently incorporated city of Damascus.[13]

Proposed stations[edit]

Please note that routings, station names, and station locations are subject to change. Interchanges with proposed MAX lines and reroutings are italicized.


  1. ^ a b "Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. February 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Rose, Joseph (June 29–30, 2011). "Construction begins on new light-rail bridge in Portland that will go up 'piece by piece'". The Oregonian. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Rose, Joseph (July 26, 2013). "TriMet announces opening date for Portland-Milwaukie light rail line". The Oregonian. p. B3. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Rose, Joseph (March 29, 2011). "Feds approve design for Portland-Milwaukie light rail line". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ Construction Timeline, Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail. TriMet. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
  6. ^ "Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. August 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  7. ^ Rose, Joseph (December 8, 2010). "TriMet board gives greenlight to Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail bridge funding". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ Rose, Joseph (April 16, 2014). "Tilikum Crossing: New Portland bridge named after Chinook word for 'people'". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Oliver, Gordon (November 10, 1994). "One down, more to go for reality of north-south rail line". The Oregonian, p. C10.
  10. ^ Oliver, Gordon (February 8, 1995). "Clark County turns down north-south light rail". The Oregonian, p. 1.
  11. ^ Redden, Jim (September 10, 2009). "After 35 years of waiting, TriMet’s Green Line hits all the parties: Thousands ride new I-205 line that was born of a ’70s freeway rebellion". Portland Tribune. Retrieved December 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Portland light rail extension starts final design". Railway Gazette International. April 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Redden, Jim (August 20, 2009). "Cities fight to avoid being left at station". Portland Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 

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