News broke late last week that the Sunset Empire Transportation District, headquartered in Astoria, was suspending all operations on Saturday, April 30, 2023. The Daily Astorian article (April 27, 2023 www.dailyastorian.com/news/local/sunset-empire-transportation-district-to-suspend-operations/article_ac06e038-e55a-11ed-9751-7f2d3c260b1f.html
), described the dire financial straits facing the District. How did this situation happen? What happens next? Answers to these questions will come. More importantly to me, is that the article told the human side of this sad story, that of the dozens of citizens who would be left stranded come Monday and be unable to get to needed medical and legal appointments, school or work. This story shines a defining light on the need for public transportation: that public transportation is critically intertwined with necessary medical care, important appointments, school and jobs and can lead to potential isolation when the bus no longer shows up. Especially hard hit will be those who cannot drive and who do not have family or friends on whom to rely.
The Tillamook County Transportation District thankfully is solvent and has buses and drivers. It is my hope that the Tillamook County Transportation District will extend a hand, or buses, to Clatsop County for a short time by offering limited routes, even if these are infrequent, to help citizens in need. We can be a good neighbor and an ongoing support to our Tillamook County residents that have important business beyond our county line.
I am running for a position on the Tillamook County Transportation Board. I understand how important public transportation is to our community, to individuals, our lives and livelihoods. If elected to the Board, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the Tillamook County Transportation District Board remains fiscally sound and responsibly managed. You have my commitment on this.