Wednesday, January 18, 2006

TriMet rage [updated]

It happened almost two years ago, but a bizarre story involving a TriMet bus here in Portland, a cyclist/activist in no mood to display a long fuse, a bus driver with a lot to explain, and a bus passenger with a lot of issues made Tuesday's Oregonian.

Here's the story:
Just after 9 a.m. January 22, 2004, a bus approached Albright on a viaduct east of the Hawthorne Bridge. At the time, Albright was not riding in the bicycle lane; he says it contained too much gravel used during a recent storm to ride safely.

As the bus narrowly passed him, Albright shook his fist and possibly hit the bus as it drove off. Albright later caught up and stood on the sidewalk by the front door of the bus, which stopped in traffic. Then he picked up his bike and got into the street, blocking the bus.

Albright said he would not usually take such a step, but the driver refused to make eye contact with him.

Within five seconds of Albright blocking the bus, cameras capture an unidentified man squeezing past other riders to talk to the driver, who opens the door. The man jumps off and confronts Albright.

The man appears to grab Albright's bike, swing at him and push him back onto the sidewalk. The man re-boards the bus, which leaves.

The incident took less than a minute.

Albright said he filed a police report and a complaint against the driver, but his attacker remains unidentified and uncharged.
The amazing part about this--one of the sweet little ironies of living in Bush's 24/7 panopticon world--is that the incident was captured on the closed-circuit cameras on the TriMet bus. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

You can read disappointingly ugly comments at the Oregonian's Public Editor blog here (if it's no longer the current thread, look for the thread that starts in the 3400s ). One commenter, going by the probably-too-true handle "hairypalms," is that charming mixture of bullying, narrow-mindedness, and desperate need for attention that usually gets them banned from more attentive blogs.

You can also read some more thoughtful comments at BikePortland.

The upshot: The cyclist, Randy Albright--whose hands might not be 100% clean but nevertheless was treated badly--is suing Trimet, as is his right. The unnamed driver almost certainly had some 'splainin' to do to TriMet supervisors for allowing the passenger off the bus in the middle of the bridge to punch out a cyclist, then allowing him back on again.

But the unsolved mystery remains--who's the TriMet rider with the rage problem? He's still out there, and I bet cyclist Randy Albright and his attorney would like to know who he is. Here's his picture:

Does anyone know him?

You can link to this image and use it as an iron-on transfer image. If enough cyclists wear this guy's wanted poster on their T-shirts around town, it'll up the chances of finding him.

[Update: Jonathan from points out in the Comments:
"And they've got to find him quick...the statute of limitations for pressing charges runs out on Jan. 22nd (that's 2 years after the incident occured)."
So if you know who the TriMet rider is--now's the time to speak up.]


Anonymous said...

And they've got to find him quick...the statute of limitations for pressing charges runs out on Jan. 22nd (that's 2 years after the incident occured).

Caroline P said...

The "unnamed driver" was Harold R. Cooper, who has since died in a boating accident on the Columbia River. No use pursuing him.

Interesting idea setting up wanted posters...

Nothstine said...

Damn. Condolences to Harold's family. I was pissed at his part in the Albright story, but that pales now.

Thanks for the note.


Anonymous said...

Just to clarify:
The driver is deceased...but we're looking for the passenger.

And about those ugly comments from the Oregonian forum, I posted some of the nasty ones.

Anonymous said...


you're of this turd all over town! can you post a picture of me in the hopes that if enough people wear my mug i'll finally get a date?