Transit Riders Union hosts this community open forum at Portland State (12 noon, Saturday, May 1 at Chit Chat Cafe, 1906 SW Sixth) as an alternative event to the official May Day activities. With the killing this week of two women pedestrians at the corner of NW Glisan and Broadway by the #9 bus driver (they had the crosswalk and the green light!), this Open Forum is a chance for pedestrians, transit riders and others to express grief, outrage and brainstorm organizing ideas for TriMet accountability on:
--stopping the proposed alleged austerity budget cuts to 60 bus routes and the proposed fare hike
--electing the TriMet board (it is currently appointed by Oregon's governor)
--using the upcoming May election as a way to raise transit accountability issues (not just more
funding for the TriMet bureaucracy)
--linking up with other social justice issues and coalitions to promote poor people's rights
(transit riders, tenant rights, the Coke-Vitamin Water Boycott for labor rights in Colombia)
with 'popular' or more pressing (??) issues on/by the Left in Portland
Transit Riders Union has been attending the May Day 2010 Portland planning committee meetings, and was glad to see that housing was added as an issue for the Right2Survive/Reclaim event at St. Francis Church on Saturday, May 1, at 4pm-8pm.
In the mission statement of the May Day coalition, "decent" was added to "affordable housing" and that was good. However, safety, stopping the fare hike and bus cuts and electing the TriMet board was not "added" to "funding" public transit, in the mission statement. Likewise, a stop on the march for the Coke Boycott (or a stop/picket against Portland Business Alliance) at the downtown/PSU Safeway was not really considered seriously by the May Day Committee -- and that's fine.
One suggestion for May Day 2011 might be to attempt to include more local, social justice, ongoing campaigns in the May Day events, possibly -- as well as saying that Honduras, Arizona, workers and immigrants are all important (which they are!!!).