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Later This Month, TriMet is Voting For a Policy Change That Could End Life-Ruining Fines

Reason no. 2 to love Portland right now.

For years, it's been the most disproportionate punishment in Portland. Hop on a MAX train without a $2.50 ticket and TriMet will levy a $175 fine on the first offense.

But that draconian rule could soon end.

On Dec. 17, TriMet proposed changes to its policy on fare evasion. Starting as early as July 1, a new fee structure would charge first-time offenders $75 or four hours of community service. Another proposal would waive citations for low-income, elderly and disabled riders, as long as they load a fare card with at least $10.

Why the change? The Oregon Legislature passed a law last spring that allows the transit agency to deal with fare-evasion cases without sending people to court. It's part of a national movement to stop criminalizing poverty.

Maria Hernandez of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, who helped craft the reform, says credit should go to TriMet riders.

"TriMet felt the pressure to agree," she says, "and joined our effort to reduce fines and penalties and address the true root cause of fare evasion: economic instability."

TriMet's board of directors could approve this common-sense reform Feb. 28.

2. TriMet Could Soon Stop Charging Life-Ruining Fines

3. You Can Now Smoke Weed While Listening to Live Classical Music

4. Oregon's Unemployment Rate is Incredibly Low

5. Your Favorite Sports Team is Only a Short Walk Away

6. The Blazers Star in Some Weird-Ass Commercials

7. We Now Have a Mountain Bike Park in the City

8. 24 hours after Chamber Music Northwest Burned Down, the Last Concert in the Series Went on as Planned

9. Portland is the Playground of Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma

10. You Can Soon Stream Local Music at the Library

11. Oregon Just Became the First State to Defelonize Hard Drugs

12. East Portland is Getting an Aerial Tree Walk

13. We're the World Capital of Canned Wine

14. Portland is a Hotbed of Small Bookstores

15. Unlike any Other City, We Have Multiple Niche Comedy Festivals

16. Our Developers Are Privatizing Socialism

17. The Nation's Best Airport Keeps Getting Even Better

18. We're Home to the World's First Sneaker Design School

19. Portland Scored the World's First Dog Tap Room

20Weed Prices are Falling From Cheap to Damn Near Free, and We Haven't Yet Found the Bottom

21. Our Local Mini-Mart Chain Makes Snickers Give You Free Candy Bars

22. The View From the MAX Orange Line is One of the Most Striking and Beautiful Paintings in the City 

23. We Are Still No. 1 in Semifactual Superlatives

24. We Make Biking So Accessible

25. You Can Crowdfund Anything Here

26. We Find So Many Ways to be Anti-Trump

27. Our Malls Are Becoming Cultural Embassies

28. Our Humane Society Rescues Pets From All Over the Country 

29. Winter This Year is a Pussycat

30. No One Mourns Closures Like We Do