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Bill would force TriMet to beef up security

Concerns about safety on MAX light rail trains are now moving into the state Legislature.

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson of Gresham will introduce legislation in February that would require TriMet to increase security on trains and also provide funding for Gresham to hire two full-time police officers to patrol the MAX line.

Monnes Anderson's bill would force TriMet to make annual reports to the Legislature on criminal activity occurring on or near the light-rail system. It also would require TriMet to consider methods for improving passenger safety, including placing gates at light-rail stations, increasing the number of security cameras, stepping up fare inspections and boosting law-enforcement patrols.

The draft legislation also calls for funding two positions in the Gresham Police Department that would be dedicated to MAX patrols. Monnes Anderson said on Friday that about $222,000 would be needed to hire and equip those two officers for a year.

'I'm doing this because crime has escalated so dramatically,' she said. Her hope is that Gresham would be able to take over future funding of the two new positions if the city's voters pass a public safety levy in November.

TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch said the agency has no concerns about the bill because TriMet already is working toward most of the proposed law's requirements.

'It's very much in line with what we are doing right now to improve safety and security on the system,' Fetsch said Friday. 'Those are all the same things we're looking at.'