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It’s a free ride for you


At the ribbon-cutting ceremony held last month at Eastport Plaza, which celebrated the expansion of Ride Connection services to east Portland for seniors and people with disabilities, Sally Carlson, foreground, and Rita Nesbitt, residents of Woodland Heights Retirement Community, say they use Ride Connection everyday. In fact, they rode to the ceremony.
With the advent of the three new Mid-county shuttles, Ride Connection user John Betts said he would be using it more frequently than he now does.
A new service that offers transportation for older adults and people with disabilities arrived in mid-Multnomah County last month.

Nonprofits Ride Connection and Metropolitan Family Service collaborated to provide a new shuttle service in mid-Multnomah County for older adults and people with disabilities. The Lents Powellhurst-Gilbert RideAbout circulator shuttle provides regular service to and from points south of Division Street between 82nd and 162nd avenues. Destinations include grocery stores, community centers, parks and other locations of interest. RideAbout service is available Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Lents Powellhurst-Gilbert area.

“The shuttle is the first in a string of shuttles to be added to the area,” said Cora Potter, Service Specialist for Ride Connection. “Boosting transportation options in the area will enhance the community participation of older adults and people with disabilities.” Two additional shuttle services are planned and will be starting soon in the Parkrose and Hazelwood/Mill Park neighborhoods. As 10 percent of households include someone with impaired mobility or a senior with difficulty obtaining transportation, and with the baby boom generation aging, this percentage will only rise. This will be accompanied by an increase in the services Ride Connection provides, we hope. With the addition of the three Mid-county shuttles, Metropolitan Family Services and Ride Connection estimate they will provide over 30,000 rides next year in the tri-county area.
There is no charge for the RideAbout circulator shuttle, but donations are an important part of the transportation program and are strongly encouraged. Drivers are happy to help with assistance through the door and carrying shopping bags, at their own discretion.

Ride Connection is a nonprofit, community service organization established to link accessible, responsive transportation with community needs.

Mid-Multnomah County U-Ride is a partnership between Metropolitan Family Service and Ride Connection. Service is provided to individuals over 60 and people with disabilities Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Service is primarily within this service area: from Northeast and Southeast 82nd Avenue east to Northeast and Southeast 162nd Avenue; north to the Columbia River and south to the Clackamas County line. The program has two available accessible vehicles including one lift-equipped minibus, primarily used for shuttle service, and one minivan dedicated to individual demand-response trips five days a week throughout the service area. Metropolitan Family Service also recruits volunteers who are willing to use their own vehicles to provide trips in the area to help meet the need for individual trips. To request a trip on the Lents Powellhurst-Gilbert RideAbout, or with the greater Mid-Multnomah County U-Ride, customers can call the Ride Connection Service Center at 503-226-0700 to speak with a travel navigator.

Ride Connection works closely with its community partners to provide alternative transportation for seniors and people with disabilities. Volunteers strengthen their network through their caring interaction with people. With such a wide range of service options, Ride Connection is able to provide an array of volunteer opportunities. Every day, Ride Connection volunteers make a difference in our community. Mobility is an important quality-of-life issue for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Transportation increases independence, provides connection with the community and ensures access to life-sustaining activities. For more information, contact the Outreach Specialist at 503-528-1738 or e-mail
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