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Police arrest man for assaulting TriMet driver

Tigard Police officers arrested a man after he allegedly punched a TriMet bus driver in the face and vandalized a bus.

According to police, 34-year-old Michael Olivo of Portland got into an altercation with the TriMet bus driver and another man when he was confronted about vandalizing the bus near Washington Square mall on Friday, Oct. 4.Olivo

It was about 6:30 a.m., when bus driver Ivan Bissell picked up the man at the Tigard Transit Center. Bussell said the rider, who was the first passenger on at the stop, sat near the back of the bus and seemed agitated.

“I was seeing some action that was not normal for a rider that early in the morning,” Bissell said, recounting the incident.

Bissell said the man complained loudly about TriMet and used foul language. Bissell told The Times he watched the man as he drove, and saw him scratching something into a seat.

When the bus reached its stop at Washington Square mall, Bissell investigated and saw that the man had written on and torn up nearby seat cushions and then carved anti-TriMet language into a seat partition.

Bissell got out his phone and began taking photos to document the damage and reportedly told the man to get off the bus.

The rider at first denied any involvement, but as Bissell attempted to document the damage, the man grabbed Bissell's phone and ran off.

A bystander and Bissell were able to pin the man down briefly and reclaim the phone, but not before the rider punched Bissell in the nose, breaking his glasses, and punched the bystander in the face, according to Jim Wolf, a spokesman with the Tigard Police Department.

Bissell was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries as police set up a containment area and began searching for the rider. Bissell was released later that day.

Tigard Police and a Hillsboro K-9 team found the man in a backyard in an undisclosed part of Southwest 74th Avenue in Garden Home. Wolf said a witness spotted Olivo near Southwest Oleson Road throwing a bottle at a passing TriMet bus.

Olivo faces charges of assault, theft, criminal mischief and harassment.

He was lodged in the Washington County Jail.

Bissell, who lives in St. Helens, said he feels for the man, but is glad police were able to make an arrest.

“Nobody wants to ride in a torn up bus,” he said. “I think a person needs to be held accountable. Vandalism is just uncalled for.”

Despite the damage to himself and his bus, Bissell said the incident was out of the ordinary, and that riders should feel safe about using TriMet services.

“I don’t feel any less safe because of this,” he said. “I don’t feel threatened, or unsafe, and I don’t think the riders, even on this particular route where this happened, should.”




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