"I hopped on one of the polished diesel trains last Wednesday for the inaugural ride carrying dignitaries and members of the local news media. After the round trip, I stepped off with mixed feelings about Oregon's first commuter-rail experiment.
Sure, the ride itself was everything that TriMet promised: fast, comfortable, clean and efficient, all with a free, lightning-fast Wi-Fi connection. Yet the experience, built along 14.7 miles of freight tracks in Washington County, seemed out of sync with public transit in our laid-back, mossy part of the world.
In a community used to planning and playing around the polite whisper of light rail, WES is a punch of hard-rolling rust-and-grease commuting that's more Chicago than Tualatin. I also couldn't shake the feeling that the $166 million project has become a shiny distraction from TriMet's nagging problems, ranging from malfunctioning fare machines to obvious bus-service gaps in the suburbs."