TriMet bus struck by bullet; ‘fear, depression’ plagues drivers

Multnomah County

The president of the transit union says drivers feel they aren't getting enough support from TriMet

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A TriMet bus was hit by a bullet on SW 5th Avenue and Oak Street Thursday night.

The shot was fired during a fight between two people nearby, according to the Portland Police Bureau. Both individuals ran off and have not been found.

Police said the driver and one passenger were on the bus when the shot was fired.

No one was injured.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, a TriMet spokesperson said, “Our thoughts are with the operator and rider who were on board the bus when the shooting occurred. Thankfully, they were not hurt in this instance. We share the concerns of city leaders and police about the increase in gun violence in the communities we serve.”

In May, a TriMet bus driver was hit by a stray bullet that went through the windshield. The bullet hit him in the shoulder as he was driving with 25 passengers on board the bus on NE Halsey.

Then in August, a man was shot during a disturbance on a TriMet bus near SE Hawthorne Boulevard and SE 26th. He died at a hospital.

Shirley Block, the president of the transit union, said drivers are feeling “a lot of fear, a lot of ‘I don’t want to go to work,’ a lot of depression. A lot feel they don’t get the support from the company that they need.”

Block said TriMet drivers don’t have confidence in the police bureau’s ability to respond quickly enough to prevent lives from being lost. PPB said it’s aware Portlanders’ sense of safety is shot due to many recent reports of stray bullets.

“We’ve seen on neighborhood streets where people’s homes are in the crossfire and people are seeing bullets flying through their front windows while they’re home,” said Sgt. Kevin Allen with the PPB.

Allen pointed out numerous reports this year of bullets striking park rangers’ trucks, residents’ cars — even while people are driving.

“I think we can all agree it shouldn’t be happening. It’s unacceptable and whatever the solution is to gun violence, I think we all need to be a part of it,” he said.

If anyone has any information about the incident, they are asked to email crimetips@portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 21-302333.

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