view of the Aerial Tram from OHSU's 9th floor terrace.
Photos by Alexa Meisler
the Aerial Tram
The Portland Aerial Tram is part of the Portland public transportation system
and is owned by the city. The tram was designed by Angelil/ Graham/ Pfenniger/
Scholl based in Zurich, Switzerland, and Los Angeles. The cabins were custom designed
by Gangloff Cabins of Bern, Switzerland.
The lower tram is located in the South Waterfront next
to OHSU Center for Health and Healing at 3303 SW Bond Ave.
Heading South on I-5
Use Exit 299A onto SW Hood Avenue. Turn left on
SW Macadam Avenue, right SW Curry Street and left on SW Bond Avenue.
Heading North on I-5
Take Exit 299A onto SW Macadam Avenue. Turn right
on SW Curry Street and left on SW Bond Avenue.
6 am-10 pm, Mondays-Fridays; 9 am-5 pm. Saturdays; closed Sundays
- Tickets are round-trip and are purchased at the lower terminal.
Tickets are not needed at the upper terminal.
The tram ticket machine accepts debit and credit cards as well as quarters. It
does not accept dollar bills or other coins.
Parking is limited at both the upper and lower terminals. Limited metered parking
is available at the lower terminal and paid parking lots are available at both.
ride in the sky
tram gives visitors unique view from above Portland
an aerial ferry for doctors, patients, visitors and hospital employees traveling
to and from Oregon Health & Science University. It's also the newest thrill ride
for anyone seeking a different view of downtown Portland and the mountains beyond.
rapidly growing South Waterfront is the lower terminal launching point of Portland's
newest mode of transportation; the Aerial Tram. Originally intended as transportation
between the OHSU Center for Health and Healing and the OHSU Campus atop Marquam
Hill, the new silver cabin also provides an excellent vantage point to capture
unique photos opportunities.
didn't know about the tram, but we saw it moving across the horizon and it was
so impressive we had to ride it," says Brendan Butler of San Francisco, in town
visiting his nephew having eye surgery at OHSU. "It's a real breath of fresh air
to see a city moving forward and building something for the future."
My ride on the Aerial Tram began at the lower terminal. After purchasing the required
ticket for the ride up at the kiosk located at the entry way I waited a few minutes
before the tram glided down and we were able to board. There were 20 of us - although
tram capacity is 79 - and we all quickly bellied up to the windows in anticipation
of the upcoming views.
3-minute ride is smooth, except for the passing of the main suspension tower when
tram operators advise holding on for the upcoming sway and dip. The bump is enough
to give the ride a bit of a wow factor, at least for the first trip, but not enough
to scare even the youngest riders. As the tram ascended the 3,300 feet to Marquam
Hill, the view of downtown Portland, the Willamette River, Mt. St. Helens, Mt.
Tabor and Mt. Hood reveal Portland's impressive landscape and beauty.
"Watching the sunrise
from the tram is breathtaking and coming after dark to see the city lights is
amazing," says tram operator Leslie Ransom.
The view can be appreciated during the ride's accent or decent and at the Marquam
Hill Campus 9th floor upper terminal. Just inside the entry to the hospital is
perfect spot to sit down, relax and enjoy the citiy's landscape or take a stroll
on the 9th floor terrace before completing your round-trip aerial adventure.
One of only two commuter aerial trams in the United States (the other is the Roosevelt
Island Tramway located in New York City); the Portland tram runs every five minutes.
Meisler is a free-lance writer based in Portland.