Washington Park station (Portland)

Washington Park  
MAX Light Rail station
Westbound platform at Washington Park station, February 2018.jpg
Westbound platform in 2018
LocationWashington Park near Oregon Zoo and SW Knights Boulevard
Portland, Oregon, United States
Coordinates45°30′38″N 122°43′01″W / 45.510661°N 122.716869°W / 45.510661; -122.716869Coordinates: 45°30′38″N 122°43′01″W / 45.510661°N 122.716869°W / 45.510661; -122.716869
Owned byTriMet
Platforms1 island platform
Structure typeUnderground
Depth260 ft (79 m)
Platform levels1
Disabled accessYes
OpenedSeptember 12, 1998
Preceding station   TriMet icon.svg MAX Light Rail   Following station
Blue Line
toward Cleveland
Red Line

Washington Park is a light rail station in Portland, Oregon, United States, that is operated by TriMet as part of its MAX Light Rail system. Situated between Sunset Transit Center and Goose Hollow/Southwest Jefferson Street, the station is the 17th and 3rd eastbound stop on the Blue Line and the Red Line, respectively. Its two tracks and island platform are a part of the Robertson Tunnel beneath Portland's West Hills. The station's head house and surface-level plaza are located in the middle of a parking lot surrounded by the Hoyt Arboretum, Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Oregon Zoo, Portland Children's Museum, and World Forestry Center. Washington Park is the only completely underground station in the MAX system; at 260 feet (79 m) below ground, it is the deepest transit station in North America and one of the deepest in the world.[1][2]

The station opened in September 1998 as part of the Westside MAX extension to downtown Hillsboro. Connections include TriMet bus route 63–Washington Park/Arlington Heights and a free seasonal shuttle. Various hiking trails, some a part of Portland's 40-Mile Loop, connect the station to other parts of Washington Park, including the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden.


The station was designed by the Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership architecture firm and built by Hoffman Construction Company, with engineering by Parsons Brinckerhoff.[3] It opened in 1998 along with the rest of the westside MAX Line. Building Design & Construction named the station as its top public works project in 1999 in its Building Team Project of the Year competition.[3]

In 2018, TriMet completed a $2.1 million renovation of the station's platform level. The agency partnered with ZGF for the renovation, which included mounting energy-efficient LED lighting and installing patterned tiles along the platform-side and elevator lobby walls. Artists from Mayer/Reed painted large-scale murals over the 300-foot-long (91 m) walls across the tracks from the platform.[4][5]

Station details[]

Street level Exits/Entrances, ticket vending machines, bus stop, paid surface parking
Platform level Westbound Blue Line toward Hatfield Government Center (Sunset Transit Center)
Red Line towards Beaverton Transit Center (Sunset Transit Center)
Island platform, doors will open on the left; elevators
Eastbound Blue Line toward Cleveland Avenue (Goose Hollow/Southwest Jefferson Street)
Red Line towards Portland International Airport (Goose Hollow/Southwest Jefferson Street)


West head house and bus stop

The surface portion includes a public plaza named in honor of Les AuCoin, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who supported the project. The entrance to the zoo is located just across a parking-lot road from the station plaza, having been moved north from its previous location the weekend after the station opened. Two high-speed elevators are located at either end of the underground station; visitors to the Oregon Zoo are directed to the east elevators while people going to the World Forestry Center are pointed to the west.


Core sample and geologic time displayed on the south (eastbound) platform

The Robertson Tunnel consists of two single-track tubes, one for each direction of travel. The 200-foot (61 m) station platform is between the rails,[6] accessed from the left side of trains. A geological timeline—created from a drilling core sample—runs along the platform walls. The eastbound platform is marked by yellow roof girders, symbolizing the sunrise; the westbound platform has orange roof girders, symbolizing the sunset. The platforms were nicknamed Sunrise and Sunset, respectively, by TriMet.

Trains entering the tunnel more than a mile away can be heard from the platforms. They move at up to 55 mph (89 km/h)[1] and push a stream of constant-temperature air into the station. This, coupled with the surrounding rock, keeps the platform at a natural average temperature of 50 °F (10 °C) year round.

A memorial to the only worker killed during the construction of the Robertson Tunnel is located on the wall next to the tunnel portal at the east end of the "Sunset" (westbound) platform.


The value of pi is carved into the wall of the eastbound platform. However, only the first 11 decimal places are correct.[7] It has been determined that the digits displayed are digits 1..10, 101..110, 201..210 etc.[8]

The elevators stop at only two levels, surface and platform level, with no intermediate stops. As a part of the station's geological theme, the signs inside the elevators refer to these two levels not by conventional floor numbers but by "the present" and "16 million years ago"—for the surface level and platform level, respectively. During ascent and descent, a moving indicator display inside each elevator shows the current position expressed as elevation above sea level in feet. The elevators allow selecting two floors, "S" and "T", for "surface" and "tunnel" (or possibly "street" and "track"). The 26-story (28 for the west elevators) equivalent ride takes about 25 seconds. Due to the hillside surface slope, the west elevators are 20 feet (6.1 m) taller than the east elevators.

Bus line connections[]

This underground MAX station is served by the following bus lines:


  1. ^ a b "Westside MAX Tour Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. November 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  2. ^ "Livable Portland: Land Use and Transportation Initiatives" (PDF). TriMet. November 2010. p. 83. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Miller, Brian K. (July 4, 1999). "Local team honored for work on light-rail station". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  4. ^ "2017 Washington Park Rehabilitation Project". TriMet. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "TriMet, Washington Park Station Improvements". ZGF Architects. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Hamilton, Don (February 24, 1997). "Light rail station at zoo unfolds". The Oregonian. p. B4.
  7. ^ Shrag, John (August 19, 1998). "Humble pi". Willamette Week.
  8. ^ "Pieces of pi at Washington Park Station". DocBug. November 20, 2006. Archived from the original on August 2, 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  9. ^ Washington Park Free Shuttle Explore Washington Park/Metro. Retrieved August 31, 2016.

External links[]