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Former West Linn man honored by TriMet

Jeffery Evans named MAX Operator of the Year

COURTESY PHOTO: TRIMET - Jeffery Evans, formerly of West Linn,  was honored as TriMet's MAX Operator of the Year; he drives the Blue and Red lines out of the Elmonica rail yard.Former West Linn resident Jeffery Evans is going out on top.

Evans, a MAX Light Rail operator since 1998 and a TriMet employee since 1991, was selected earlier this month as TriMet’s MAX Operator of the Year, an honor that came just days before Evans’ retirement. He was chosen for the award by his fellow TriMet empoyees.

“I had my hopes up, but nevertheless, I was very surprised,” Evans said. “I work with some of the best and sharpest bus and rail operators who show up and work hard every day. It’s pretty humbling to come out on top with a group like that.”

“I’m proud to celebrate some of our best operators for driving safely and providing impeccable customer service every day,” said Neil McFarlane, TriMet general manager. “They have a tough job, but they do it with honor, professionalism and (they) all have a special ability to connect with our riders. It’s also an opportunity to recognize not just them, but all of our operators who keep this region moving and help make it a great place to live.”

While this is the first time Evans has been named Operator of the Year, he has a lengthy list of previous awards; he’s earned 11 Superior Performance Awards and was chosen as Rail Operator of the Quarter two times — once in 2002 and also in 2015.

Also honored on were Alex Ohly of Lake Oswego, who was named Bus Operator of the Year; and Justina Carrillo of Portland, who was selected as Mini-Run Bus Operator of the Year.

Evans, 61, began his career with TriMet 25 years ago as a bus operator, but moved over to operate MAX trains seven years later and has been at it ever since. He’s driven every one of TriMet’s MAX lines except the Orange, and most recently has worked on the Blue and Red lines out of the Elmonica rail yard in Beaverton.

While he’s definitely looking forward to retirement — he and his wife of 30 years, Janet Hillock, are moving to Sedona, Ariz. — Evans said he still enjoys coming to work every day.

“I look forward to going to work because I get to see all my friends,” he said. While admitting there are some co-workers he’s closer to than others, Evans described those acquaintances as “kind of like an extended family.”

Evans has lived in Beaverton for just the past year after spending the previous 24 in West Linn, but has come to enjoy the city and all its parks, traffic and diversity.

His move to Beaverton last year had some other benefits, too, foremost among them eliminating a daily commute on Interstate 205 and Highway 217 that had been part of his life for 24 years. And the change in Evans’ commuting habits has been more dramatic than just wiping out a long, slow drive along traffic-filled roadways — it has given him another joy in allowing him to commute to work by bicycle.

Along with his honor last week, Evans considers it all part of a nice end to his career.

“It’s kind of like going out on top,” he added.