Friday, September 01, 2006

Trams of the Wild West: The Rose City Challenge



Just when things were fixin' to quiet down here in the Rose City, the townsfolk went and got all riled up again. And darn, if it wasn't that newfangled tram causing all the ruckus. Seems the plan for rescuing the good citizens of Portland from this high-wire contraption, was to drop a rope 175 feet out the door and have folks rappel down in a "special" harness. Well, no sooner had that one set in then a crowd gathered in the town square, and Mister, they wuz in no mood to be fooled with. From the back someone yelled out, "If that's all the City Council can come up with, then let them test the damn thing!" "Yeah, let them show us how safe it really is!" And quicker than you can say pig snot, the Rose City Challenge was born: Why not have the City Council demonstrate this beauty, so we can all see that it's okay? Well, one thing you should know about these fellas, doggone it - they ain't afraid of no challenge. So the Council commenced a-sweating and a-practicing like there was no tomorrow. Here's a shot of them working on their dismount - you can click on it to get a better view. Now, I ain't no aerial acrobat, but it looks like things are going pretty good. Of course, the Commissioners are in quite a hurry. They want to get down that rope before it gets too cold. Climbing out of that dang-blang tram on a freezing, windy night would test the bravest politician, especially in these outfits.

8 Comments:

At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what the big deal is. Portland is not the first city in the world to have a Tram...

Some places with a lot more extreme environments and harsher weather have bigger trams...

All over Europe, for example...

And I grew up in Albuquerque with the Tram that supposedly has the worlds longest span between towers.. A tram that climbs 5000 vertical feet to top elivation of over 10,000 feet - in an area that often has sustained winds over 30mph for months at a time. In an area with harsh winter storms - much harsher than Portland. And the Tram runs year round. The workers have been known to ride up and down on the top of the tram car, and in the winter they will sleep up at the upper terminal to get it ready in the morning with all the ice and snow...

People need to stop freaking out about the Tram in Portland. It is just a baby Tram in a city with mild weather...

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

The Roosevelt Island tram goes something like 240 feet above the East River, but when that got stuck, it was approached by a rescue car. Even then it took 11 hours to get everyone out. Did this tram in Albuquerque have an emergency system that involved climbing out of the car and going down a rope? Sounds pretty cold. In my hitchhiking years, one of the coldest nights I ever spent was in a rest area outside of Albuquerque. Then I rode into town in the back of an open pickup truck. Ahh, the road. But I loved New Mexico.

 
At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every transportation system has Vulnerabilities and horror stories. Portland is getting a tram...deal with it and move on to something worth writing about.

 
At 4:15 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

That's so typical. Ask the citizens to pay for it, but get snippy if they dare to question what is an obviously ludicrous part of the plan. At least some Portlanders are going to be making fun of the tram for the rest of our lives. So maybe you should deal with that.

 
At 8:50 PM, Blogger LaurelhurstDad said...

What the folk who make fun of the Tram are missing is that the probablity of a doctor being on board is quite high.

Then again, you would need a shrink to deal with the fear from being stranded above Gibbs St. Imagine repelling into the arms old hippies and new yuppies.

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

You know what I really worry about, enough to have gone to one meeting and ask Mayor Potter directly?
Security concerns. Without getting graphic, the potential is there for some real drama.

 
At 10:48 PM, Anonymous butch said...

One of the few areas where Bill and I agree is on the Tram. Frankly, I never thought this city could come up with a less efficient, more tax burdensome method of moving people than the Steet Car. Well, I was proved wrong. And its here to stay...

 
At 11:06 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Butch, if you only could have heard some of the jokes I sold Leno during the Clinton years. This thing has been cast as a Clinton versus Bush battle and it's so crazy.
I think I fall into more of an anti-authority area. I certainly hate it when well-connected people throw their weight around and take advantage of people with less political representation. Thus usually takes the form of a flow of money from one group up to the more well-off and I think that describes the tram. The really annoying part is when the power insiders get all cranky if you even dare to object. But even without the politics the tram is a dumb idea. Too many moving parts for too little in return.

 

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