PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Commissioner and mayoral candidate Rene Gonalez released a video on Friday saying that he will temporarily stop using public transportation in Portland after he was “accosted” by a woman on the MAX train on Jan. 26.
“For my entire career, I have been multimodal: A frequent TriMet user and regular cyclist,” Gonzalez said in the video. “Last Friday, I was accosted by a woman on the train. What I experienced was deliberate, unwanted physical contact, followed by criticisms of the city’s policies regarding homelessness.”
The public argument occurred two weeks after a family car caught fire outside Gonzalez’s Sellwood-Moreland home on Jan. 12. The fire is being investigated as a possible arson case.
“Given the targeted events my family has endured, city security and my family have asked that I stop taking public transit for a period of time,” Gonzalez said. “It is unfortunate, because I have always viewed taking our public transit system as a core part of Portland’s identity.”
While he plans to take a break from the MAX, Gonzalez vowed to one day return to using Portland public transportation.
“Rest assured, once we have a security solution to these targeted attacks figured out, I will be back on the MAX again,” he said.
KOIN 6 has reached out to Gonzalez and TriMet for additional comments regarding the MAX incident. In a statement, TriMet called the situation unfortunate.
“It’s unfortunate when community leaders feel they cannot travel freely in public,” TriMet said. “We are grateful Commissioner Gonzalez and his family are safe and look forward to welcoming him back on board when he feels safe to go out in public again.”