In the early 20th century, the streetcars of Portland ran all over, like the Red Cars in Los Angeles. Then, like the Red Cars, they died, the grisly details obscured by vast clouds of automobile exhaust. So in 2001, Portland started over, and a new line, running as a city-operated sibling to the local light-rail and bus systems, has grown to cover 7.2 miles. Which may not sound like much. But in Portland, that's enough to cross town, to win over about 8,800 riders each weekday, to link several inviting neighborhoods and tempt some tourists out of their rental cars.
Randy L. Rasmussen / The Oregonian