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A Year After Portland MAX Stabbing, A Mural To Remember And Grieve

There's a mural where there once wasn't at the site of the deadly MAX train stabbing that happened one year ago Saturday.

That's when the Hollywood Transit Center became the site of a hate crime that drew national attention and where, now, a mural with symbols of grieving and healing are deemed necessary.

"I wanted to show both the symbol of a hope of our city growing together and in service to each other and also recognizing there is still so much grief we hold as a community," said Egyptian-American artist Sarah Farahat in April. TriMet picked Farahat's design for the Hollywood Transit Center.

The mural features a Western peony, which is known to hold medical properties used to aid in the grieving process. Its background colors represent the shift from sunset to night.

The stabbing drew national attention in part because the stabbings took place on the eve of Ramadan. Prosecutors have alleged Jeremy Christian, the man accused of killing two people onboard the train last spring, shouted racial slurs at two African-American women on the light-rail train. One of the women wore a hijab. 

Jury selection for Christan's case will begin June 24, 2019. The trial is expected to last several weeks, ending July 26, 2019.

"I and so many others were shocked by this horrible attack and by the racially-motivated harassment against young people of color that preceded it," said Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat in a statement. "We believe in a world where everyone can live and trade; freely, without fear of discrimination, exclusion or harm." 

The stabbing also highlighted the racial dynamics of liberal Portland. In the immediate aftermath of the stabbing, OPB interviewed people of color who said fear is not a new feeling for many in Portland's communities of color, though the TriMet attacks may have amplified it.

“In terms of conversation, we’re all scared really,” Dana Ghazi told OPB. “We feel there is this message that ‘You’re not welcome here, no matter what you do.’”

<p>Flowers adorn the walkways and railings at the Hollywood Transit Center memorial Sunday, May 27, 2018, where a year earlier a makeshift memorial popped up in honor of those killed during a knife attack on a MAX train.</p>

Bryan M. Vance

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Flowers adorn the walkways and railings at the Hollywood Transit Center memorial Sunday, May 27, 2018, where a year earlier a makeshift memorial popped up in honor of those killed during a knife attack on a MAX train.

<p>The walls of the mural also feature several inspirational messages to the community at large and the victims of the 2017 attack.</p>

Bryan M. Vance

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The walls of the mural also feature several inspirational messages to the community at large and the victims of the 2017 attack.

<p>A woman pauses to read the inspirational messages included in the mural at the Hollywood Transit Center Sunday, May 27, 2018.</p>

Bryan M. Vance

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A woman pauses to read the inspirational messages included in the mural at the Hollywood Transit Center Sunday, May 27, 2018.

<p>The mural in honor of the victims of the 2017 attack features a Western peony, meant to symbolize the grieving process.</p>

Bryan M. Vance

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The mural in honor of the victims of the 2017 attack features a Western peony, meant to symbolize the grieving process.

<p>Saturday, the Hollywood Transit Center officially unveiled the permanent memorial to those killed in a 2017 attack on a MAX train.</p>

Bryan M. Vance

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Saturday, the Hollywood Transit Center officially unveiled the permanent memorial to those killed in a 2017 attack on a MAX train.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ericka Cruz Guevarra