Convention Report

Fall 2000

Portland Oregon

The Fall 2000 Convention of the Motor Bus Society took place over the weekend of October 14th and 15th. Headquarters was the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in downtown Portland, which is adjacent to the redeveloped Willamette Riverfront area. There were approximately 60 attendees who enjoyed dry albeit partially overcast skies between typical fall Oregon rainstorms.

Convention Chairman was Dino Mandros, who kindly took over from Seattle area member Les Hoffman after he became ill. Les was unable to attend the meet, but he did send his former Tri-Met Flxible 111-DC-D06-1 transit bus to Portland for the event.

Transportation for the property tours was supplied by Evergreen Stages/Gray Line of Portland (Coach USA). The second Saturday in October on the Pacific Coast is the day of the traditional local rivalry football games, and the Oregon-Oregon State contest in Corvallis utilized all available charter coaches in the northwest portion of the state. Evergreen had agreed to supply two buses on each day, but had to rescind one for Saturday. They did provide Gray Line 264, a Prevost LeMirage; to cover the overflow, Les' Tri Met 434 was pressed into service. For Sunday, Evergreen 292, a Prevost Champion and Gray Line 155, a TMC MC-9 (re-capped) were provided.

Saturday: The Saturday garage tour covered the major transit operations in the Willamette Valley. The first stop was at Salem Area Mass Transit District in Oregon's capital city. Operating as Cherriots, Salem Area Transit, this system owns approximately 75 buses. The backbone of the fleet is 52 RTS buses, including 31 GMC T7J-604's (1980 and 1985), 6 TMC T7J-606's (1989), 9 GMC T8J-604's (1982) and 7 GMC T8J-204's (1982). The remainder of the fleet includes 4 40' Orion V's (1992) and 10 National El Dorado 25 passenger low floor buses (1998 and 1999). The contingency fleet consists of 5 GMC New Look coaches, including 4 TDH4519's and one T6H-4523N. Following the site tour, the group boarded TDH-4519 No. 1528, which is decorated as a Christmas bus and El Dorado 1402 for a short trip to the new downtown transit center and service facility. The tour then continued south to Eugene, and after lunch, the group proceeded to the Lane County Transit District facility in that city. Operating as Lane Transit District (LTD), this agency serves the neighboring cities of Eugene and Springfield and surrounding territory. 129 buses are used in the fixed route service; all but 17 are Gillig buses. Except for 19 1999 40' Low Floor models, all are Phantoms, including 6 1997 30 footers, 5 1991 35 footers and 74 40 footers (31 1984's, 20 1991's, 28 1994's and 3 1997's). The remaining 17 buses are the 1980 GMD (Canada) T6H-4523N's, which may be the last New Look buses still in regular service in Oregon. After the garage tour, members boarded two of the 4523's for a ride to the downtown Eugene transit center. This new facility includes waiting room, dispatch and security facilities. Leaving the transit center, the tour headed southwest to the town of Lowell, home of the main shops of the Green Tortoise bus line. Green Tortoise operates a tour service between Los Angeles and Seattle stopping at sites that are off the normal beaten path, and at a rather leisurely pace. The service got started serving the Beat Generation in the 1960's and 70's. Equipment has always included third or fourth hand buses with modified interiors to provide sleeping and lounging accommodations. Initial equipment was old look GM buses, but in the 1980's the company moved up to GM New Look buses, and recently has added highway coaches for long distance tours. The current active roster consists of 12 buses, including 3 GMC TDM-4801's, 1 GMC TDM-4515, 2 GMC T8H-5305's, 1 GMC TDM-5303, 1 GMC PD-4104, 1 GMC PD-4106, 1 MCI MC-7, and 2 Prevost Champions. None of these buses were seen at the shops, which is completely equipped to build, rebuild and maintain Green Tortoise's interesting fleet. Instead a collection of some 20-30 buses that had been acquired from numerous sources were seen. Also on display was Green Tortoise Vice President Michael Cobiskey's restored Flxible VistaLiner. Green Tortoise was the last stop of the day; attendees then boarded buses for the return trip to Portland for dinner and the evening's flea market, business meeting and slide show.

Semi-Annual Meetings: The Fall 2000 meeting of the Society was held at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel, and was attended by 40-50 convention goers and friends. The audience was offered a summary of the recent convention attendance survey, and the locations that have been selected for the next five years. Members were reminded to attend the upcoming Spring meeting in Atlanta GA over the weekend of April 28th and 29th. The meeting was concluded after the presentation of slides of Portland and Willamette Valley area bus operations during the past 40 years.

Sunday: The Sunday garage tour covered the two major operators in the Portland metropolitan area, Tri-Met in Oregon and C-Tran in Washington. The first stop took the group across the Columbia River to the Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area (C-Tran) facility in Vancouver. C-Tran owns 110 full sized buses, including 33 GMC RTS buses (1982 T8J-604's) and 74 Gillig Phantom. These include 25 30 footers (17 1995's and 8 1990's), 22 35 footers (10 1995's and 12 1990's) and 27 40 footers (13 1995's and 14 199's). Completing the fleet are 2 1999 Gillig Low Floor buses, and the historic 1976 GMC T6H-4523A bus. The remainder of the tour included stops at 3 Tri-Met facilities. The Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District of Oregon (Tri-Met) operates 678 buses including 74 GMC (1982 T80-204's), 301 Flxible Metro (291 40 footers - 50 1988's, 88 1989's, 108 1992's, 8 1993's and 37 1994's, and 10 1992 30 footers), 173 Gillig Phantoms (130 40 footers - 65 1990's, 2 1992's, and 65 1997's - and 43 30 footers - 30 1990's and 13 1991's) and 118 New Flyer 40-foot Low Floor buses (58 1998's and 60 1999's). The agency also operates 78 light rail vehicles, including 26 Type 1 1983-1986 Bonbardier/BBC high floor and 52 1996-2000 Siemens low floor articulated units. The first stop was at the Center Street Garage; this site is the location of an operating facility and the main repair shop and general administrative functions. This site was the former Rose City Transit Co. garage location, which has been expanded since the 1969 acquisition of the property. It is located east of the Willamette River and south of downtown.



The tour then departed for Beaverton, a suburban city some 10 miles west of downtown Portland and the location of two adjacent Tri-Met facilities. The first was at the Merlo bus garage; this is the site of an operating and light maintenance facility; it is also the location of out of service and for sale buses. The second stop was at the Elmonica light rail yards and shops. Located here is the west side operating facility and repair and maintenance shop. The formal group photo was taken at the end of the Elmonica yard tour; afterward the tour returned to the headquarters hotel and the convention was concluded. The days activities ended by 2:00 PM, allowing participants to have lunch and ride the light rail system or selected bus lines on their own.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: MBS Chairman Mandros and Conventions staff wish to thank the following organizations and people for helping to make the Portland meeting so successful:

Photo Captions

C-Tran 2015 1982 GMC RTS T8J-604 at C-Tran garage in Vancouver WA

C-Tran 2192 Historic 1976 GMC T6H-4523A at the C-Tran garage in Vancouver WA.

C-Tran 2040 1995 Gillig Phantom M11T30102 bus painted in new version of C-Trans white, green and blue paint job. At Vancouver WA garage.

Gray Line 1551981 TMC MC-9 coach (with "96-A3" end cap) at the C-Tran garage in Vancouver, WA

Gray Line 264 1981 Prevost LeMirage at the Lane Transit garage in Eugene OR.

Gray Line Group View of convention group at the C-Tran garage in Vancouver, WA with Gray Line of Portland 155 (1981 TMC MC-9) and Evergreen States 292 (1982 Prevost Champion) seen at the right.

Green Tortoise GT VP Michael Cobiskey's restored Flxible VistaLiner at the Green Tortoise shop in Lowell, OR.

Lane 309 1999 Gillig G18D102N4 40' Low Floor bus at LTD garage in Eugene OR.

Lane 715 1980 Canadian GM T6H-4523N bus at LTD garage in Eugene OR.

Portland Group Official Portland Convention group shot, taken at Tri-Met Elmonica LRT yard in Beaverton, OR. In background are MBS member Les Hoffman's ex-Tri-Met Flxible No. 434 (1972 111-CD-D06-1) and Tri-Met LRV's.

Salem 1402 1998 National El Dorado Low Floor bus at SAT garage in Salem, OR.

Salem 1528 1967 GMC TDH-4519 contingency fleet bus, decorated for Christmas activities at the SAT garage in Salem, OR.

Salem 1538 1985 GMC RTS T7J-604 bus at SAT garage in Salem, OR.

Tri-Met 1905 1992 Flxible Metro 30102-6C bus at Tri-Met Merlo bus garage in Beaverton OR.

Tri-Met 2254 1999 New Flyer D-40LF Low Floor bus at Tri-Met Center St. garage in Portland OR.

Tri-Met 434 MBS member Les Hoffman's ex-Tri-Met 434 (1972 Flxible 111-CD-D06-1) at the Tri-Met Merlo garage in Beaverton, OR.

Tri-Met 434A MBS member Les Hoffman's ex-Tri-Met 434 (1972 Flxible 111-CD-D06-1) at the Lane Transit District garage in Eugene OR.

Tri-Met 1432 1990 Gillig Phantom 40102TB-L10 at Tri-Met Center St. garage in Portland OR.

Tri-Met Rail Shop View of interior of Elmonica LRT repair shops with MBS tour group seen on overlooking platform.