Friday, February 18, 2011

Light Rail Right Outta Portland

Mollie writes:

I never knew what an unwashed heathen I was until the issue of mass transit, light rail and other elegances of politics raised its head in the seventies. I had been innocently shuttling all over the Portland metropolitan area on Rosie (remember when the bus system was Rose City Transit and everyone called the bus Rosie?).

I had innocently managed my life with pragmatic thinking. "Take the bus - it's cheaper" I told myself; and with these ideas and with the money I saved, I could go to Hawaii on one of those discount tours designed for the lower income middle class. In my mind, I wasn't special, I was just another working drone who saved her money, saw society as a network of similar working drones, and enjoyed my little vanities.

I also experienced smugness because mass transit and light rail was a positive step into the future. By using less fossil fuel to transport myself all over the area, I was ensuring a cleaner environment for all. I imagined my self as St. Chelle, Patron Saint of Clean Air.

I really wasn't into pretense, I liked being 'raw.' At one point in my working career, I was working with a group of people where pretense and influence was important. I rapidly wrote off the social aspects of the job, went in every day and did my duty, and then went home and laughed with my husband at the "silliness du jour."

My husband, an engineer with multiple degrees and legal engineering registration (and, heaven forbid, a Naval reservist!) and I were treated as second class citizens by this group. I didn't wear designer clothes, I took the bus to work, often brought a sack lunch, and pretty much conducted myself as a yokel. I liked being a yokel and actually took pride in it.

When the subject of mass transit and light rail came up, I was informed that those of us who lived in the suburban east side would be so blessed to have light rail. What a wonderful way to move the lower class to the big city to fill our lower echelon support roles! It's important to note that the people who were telling me this lived on the west side and drove their own cars everywhere. I was the only person in my professional community who actually USED mass transit, but I was lectured daily on the advantages of it by those who eschewed it.

In the mid-seventies, before I was married, I was a Portland resident, lived downtown and actually voted for Neil Goldschmidt because of his progressive stance on mass transit. But I kept my progressive opinions to myself once we moved to Gresham and I worked in NW Portland. It was much more fun to fan the flames of contempt than join the social club. When I announced that I would be a parent-at-home once I produced prodigy #1, I was promptly told by the resident feminist that my brain would go to seed.

Sometimes I really miss that place. It was fun!

So I quit my job, had my baby, and my mind didn't turn to mush. But light rail was completed in the early eighties, and I felt that I had done something important by being one of the people who voted for Goldschmidt and supported light rail in both word AND deed. Hence, I continued my smug persona.

Fast forward to 2004 when the bomb hit that Neil Goldschmidt admitted to raping many times, over a period of years, a child. Multiple sources offer that she was 14 when the abuse began, but it's reasonable to believe that this child was 13 when the abuse began. Goldschmidt never admitted her age, or the length of his criminal activity, but if you read the testimony of many who knew of the crime (especially the victim!), it started on her mother's birthday when she was 13 and continued past her 18th birthday, when it was no longer criminal activity (1).

Being the yokel that I am, I was disgusted. I'm perfectly able to see subtle hues of gray, but also know black and white when I see it. When The Oregonian first addressed the revelation, they termed it an affair (how the people of power and influlence see child abuse, I suppose). This was no gray issue of social faux pas, in my mind, it was serial child rape, pure and simple. Consenting adults have affairs and cheat on their spouses (they are uber-stupid in my mind). The rest is rape.

But remember, I was a yokel. But I was no longer proud of it.

When social judgement was passed, we yokels were told by the powers that be that we should over-look Goldschmidt's crimes and sins and just thank our lucky stars that we came out of this with a cheap ride. Had we not been given the keys to the kingdom by Archangel Neil himself?

I don't remember Goldschmidt doing much other that getting paid to do this. And he took his pay not only with salary, but all the perks that accompanied it.

He got this opportunity from us yokels.

Goldschmidt didn't create light rail, We the People did. The affluent and powerful didn't ride mass transit back when, we yokels did. Goldschmidt didn't engineer light rail, We the People with muscle, education and talent did. That included the yokels with graduate degrees in engineering, Siemens, and the unwashed heathens who elected Goldschmidt in the first place.

So the next time the Goldschmidt saga rears its ugly head, remember that we owe Goldschmidt NOTHING for light rail, or anything else. He is nothing more than a serial pedophile who greased his own tracks to perversion with the butter of light rail.

We the People can take pride in Max.

And the Goldschmidt supporters can take that light rail, and shove it right outta town!


Go to Margie Boule's excellent article:

If you want further information, read the document at:

The investigation was done on Bernie Giusto, but contains so much information about the Goldschmidt rapes it gives the reader insight about who knew what and when they knew it.


  1. My take on the question of who knew:

    Fred Leonhardt

  2. Thank you for your comment and thank you for reading our blog. I read your article on "Omelas" and was chilled that Le Guin had so much right and so long ago.

    I find it endlessly challenging that so many people were involved in the cover-up. Thank you for NOT being one of 'them.' Sometimes, especially when we have kids to feed, it takes everything we have to show up and do our duty. You have depth and character.

    Thanks to you, our Oregon history includes the truth.


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