Bus drivers: TriMet bathrooms put us at risk

File - A TriMet bus in Portland, Ore. (KOIN 6 News)
File - A TriMet bus in Portland, Ore. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The search is on for a man accused of stabbing a TriMet bus driver after an argument over a portable toilet.

Now other drivers say it’s the Portland-based mass-transit agency’s restroom policies that put them in danger.

The stabbing happened outside the TriMet-owned port-a-potty on Southeast Flavel Street near 92nd Avenue. It, and other TriMet port-a-potties, are dark with no lights inside.

And that leaves bus drivers feeling vulnerable, especially after one of their own was stabbed April 20 while stepping out of a locked port-a-potty.

“Move that up a couple of feet,” said TriMet bus operator Dan Martin, “and that may be a fatal injury over the use of the restroom.”

As of Wednesday night the stabbing suspect remained on the loose.

Martin feels for his badly injured colleague — and says TriMet must come up with safer restroom facilities for its drivers. With no lights, no running water and no hand sanitizer, the current restrooms have drivers asking “who wants to use a restroom that smells like sewage tank?” while also risking their personal safety.

Union boss Bruce Hansen agrees.

“It’s very concerning [and a] homeless location,” Hansen said. “It’s not good for us.”

Portland police believe the stabbing suspect is a transient. He’s described as being in his 30s, 5-feet-9-inches tall and — at the time — wearing a black and red coat and stocking cap.

In a written statement, TriMet tells KOIN 6 News that “We do provide restroom facilities — at the end of transit lines — that are either TriMet owned or rented facilities from nearby businesses. When there are no other alternatives, we provide locked port-a-potties. After this incident we are reviewing restroom options along this line.”

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