Multnomah County

Portland's aerial tram closing for maintenance

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Portland's aerial tram will be closed for maintenance later this summer from June 23 through July 30.

The tram, which opened in 2006, undergoes periodic maintenance throughout the year, but this will be the longest closure in its history.

The closure is happening so crews can work on the track ropes, which are 2-inch cables that the tram cars ride on as they move between Oregon Health & Science University and the South Waterfront. Workers will add a new 150-foot section of track rope.

"We've got 50 years worth of track rope spooled up top," tram director, Brett Dodson said. "It was planned so once every 12 years we need to bring 150 new feet of track rope on to the line."

In addition to being a tourist draw, the tram is a key transportation link for thousands of OHSU employees, students and staff.

Dodson said they tried to schedule the 5-week project for the time of the year with the lowest tram ridership -- and the most daylight. Tourist riders increase in the summer, but their numbers are more than offset by fewer numbers of regular OHSU commuters on summer break or vacation.

Regular tram users don't seem too bothered by the temporary closure.

Matt Leman said instead of walking his bike onto the tram, he'll ride it up the hill to his job at Shriners Hospital.

"It's summer in Portland, Leman said. "It's a great time to go out and cycle. It's just a couple hundred meter incline, it shouldn't be too bad."

OHSU will run shuttle buses between the South Waterfront and the campus between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Find more alternative routes here

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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