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Portland Aerial Tram

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Aerial Tram from above
the Portland Aerial Tram from above

The Portland Aerial Tram is Portland's only form of airborne public transportation.

It's owned by the City of Portland and operated by Oregon Health and Science University. The tram's two gondolas run in a direct line between the university's Center for Health and Healing in the South Waterfront and its Marquam Hill Campus. The ride takes about four to five minutes from door shut to door open.


[edit] How to ride the tram

[edit] Hours

As of May 2011, the tram departs both platforms every six minutes Monday to Friday, from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the summer (mid-May to mid-September) it also runs on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Check the official website for the current schedule.

[edit] Fares

The tram is free to OHSU employees, patients, students and patients' visitors. For a visitor pass, visit the concierge desk on the first floor of the OHSU Center for Health and Healing. As of July 2010, no proof is required.

For tourists and others not on OHSU business, Tram tickets cost $4 and can be purchased from the ticket machine at the base of the tram, at the pharmacy on the first floor of the OHSU Center for Health and Healing, or from various offices on OHSU's Marquam Hill campus.

A monthly TriMet pass is good for free admission on the tram, as is an OHSU employee badge. Residents of some buildings in the South Waterfront also ride free.

[edit] View from the tram

view from Portland Aerial Tram
impromptu sightseeing on the tram

The tram provides some of the best views of Portland's new South Waterfront neighborhoood and the downtown Portland skyline. The tram also gives an overhead view of local sights like the ruined Great Northwest Bookstore.

[edit] History and construction

[edit] Design competition

The Tram's design was selected through a competition sponsored by the Zidell Companies.

At the time, Zidell CEO Jay Zidell said the tram should be "a physical icon that represents the City’s aspirations, and secures our place among the great cities of the West."

[edit] Cost overruns

The tram's construction budget was first estimated at $15.5 million in November 2002, excluding soft costs such as project management and architect's fees. That figure was supposed to include $2 million from the City of Portland, $4 million from OHSU, and $9.5 million from local improvement districts of nearby property owners (including OHSU).

However, due to a change in location to the upper terminal and other issues, the final budget agreed upon in April 2006 was $57 million, including $8.5 million from the city.

[edit] External links

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