News Advisory: Annual Portland Aerial Tram evacuation exercise set for Sunday, October 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Interagency team led by Portland Fire & Rescue to evacuate seven people

(Oct. 1 2015) – The annual evacuation exercise for the Portland Aerial Tram is set for Sunday morning, Oct. 4, 2015. The exercise will begin at 9 a.m. and should be concluded by noon.

Members of the Portland Fire & Rescue Technical Rescue Team will lead the exercise. They will be assisted by representatives from both the City of Portland, whose Bureau of Transportation owns the tram,  and Oregon Health & Science University, which operates the tram in conjunction with Doppelmayr USA.

Using ropes and harnesses, the team will lower seven volunteers playing the role of passengers 100 feet to the top floor of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute’s parking garage. 

The training allows crews to practice an aerial rescue in the event the tram is stopped for an extended period of time with passengers on board. If members of the public contact you with questions about the training, please inform them that this is a scheduled training exercise and not a real emergency.

The exercise has been conducted annually since the Portland Aerial Tram opened on Jan. 27, 2007 and is designed to provide personnel with experience in executing a last resort safety measure.  There has never been a real emergency.

More than 7,000 daily commuters and tourists ride the Portland Aerial Tram; the tram is one of only two used for urban transit in the U.S.

WHEN:  9 a.m. Sunday, Oct.4, 2015 - The exercise should be completed by noon.

WHERE:  The training will take place above the OHSU Casey Eye Institute parking garage. At that location a small number of exercise participants will be evacuated from the tram and lowered via ropes and harnesses down to the top of the parking structure. Local news crews are encouraged to cover the training, but we ask that you do so from the ground and refrain from entering the Casey Eye Institute parking lot so as not to interfere with the exercise.

SPECTATORS:  The Portland Aerial Tram is closed on Sundays during the fall and winter. As a result, the training exercise will not interfere with regular operations. For those interested in observing, please do so from nearby locations and refrain from entering the Casey Eye Institute parking lot. 


The Portland Aerial Tram is owned by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation and operated by OHSU.  It opened to the public on Jan. 27, 2007. The cabins, named Walt and Jean, travel 3,300 linear feet between the South Waterfront terminal adjacent to the OHSU Center for Health & Healing and the upper terminal at the Kohler Pavilion on OHSU's main campus. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the tram cabins rise 500 feet for the three-minute trip over I-5, the Lair Hill neighborhood and the Southwest Terwilliger Parkway. Visit . Find the tram on Twitter @PortlandTram  and Facebook at

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