The afternoon of May 26, 2017, three riders on board a MAX train approaching Hollywood Transit Center were assaulted after they stood up to a man who was harassing two young women based on their race and religion. Two of the intervening riders were killed and the third was left with life-threatening injuries.
The tragedy sparked an immediate and tremendous outpouring of love and support at the transit center. Thousands of people expressed their appreciation for the men who intervened and offered condolences to their families and friends. Words of healing and encouragement were left for the young women. Altogether, the messages, chalk art and bouquets of flowers created a moving and spontaneous temporary memorial.
The attack forever changed lives and deeply affected TriMet and our community. Now the efforts to honor the lives lost, the strength of those who stood up to hate and the emotional outpouring in the days after the attack are moving forward with the selection of an artist to create a Tribute Wall.
Sarah Farahat will lead a team of artists to transform nearly 2,000 feet of wall space at the Hollywood Transit Center into a vibrant tribute reflecting the spirit of the heartfelt messages and images that family, friends and strangers had created on the walls in the wake of the incident. After reviewing concepts from four finalists on Wednesday, Jan. 31, the Hollywood Transit Center Tribute Wall Advisory Committee chose Farahat and her team to complete the project. Farahat provided a conceptual rendering for the Tribute Wall; however, she and her team will receive input from the advisory committee and impacted family members in creating the final design.
In addition, after conferring with the families of those involved, we plan to put a commemorative plaque at the transit center. The exact size of the plaque is not yet determined, but it is expected to be approximately 3 feet by 5 feet. It will include descriptive words that honor the three men and the two women, along with images of the spontaneous memorial.
Writer, designer, editor and typographer John Laursen will design the artwork. For four decades, his Portland studio has specialized in the design and production of books and text-based public art projects, including memorials. He is working directly with the families and others to create a thoughtful acknowledgement.