Resident of unincorporated Clackamas area between Gladstone and Milwaukie drives Line 33 from Clackamas Town Center to Oregon City

A lifelong bus rider who currently drives Line 33-McLoughlin/King Road between the Clackamas Town Center and Oregon City has been named an Operator of the Year by a vote of her peers at TriMet.

Neuma CrandallThis top honor caps off Neuma Crandall's 12 years of service for the regional transit agency with four Superior Performance awards and eight National Safety Council awards.

Crandall lives in a 1925 farmhouse with a big garden that she loves to take care of. Her house is in the unincorporated Clackamas area between Gladstone and Milwaukie.

Crandall moved to the Portland area in 1980, when Mount St. Helens erupted, blocking her path along Interstate 5 with ash and debris. She was on a cross-country road trip from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest and decided to stay.

Crandall's previous career was mostly in the printing industry, and she owned a business in Milwaukie. She decided on a career change and became an employee of TriMet in May 2008.

Her proudest moment as a bus driver was when she received a message from dispatch about a missing teenager.

"I had someone on my bus who looked remotely like the description. It turned out to be the missing teen," she said. "I pulled the bus over, and her parents were reunited with her while she was still on my Line 19-Woodstock bus."

Crandall was chosen as TriMet's 2020 Mini-Run Operator of the Year based on her record of safety, attendance and customer service, her excellent rapport with co-workers and her commitment to excellent service, according to a July 22 board resolution commending her.

TriMet spokesperson Tia York said the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the heroism and bravery of frontline workers across numerous industries.

"Among them are TriMet bus and train operators who maintained critical transit services throughout the early, uncertain months of the pandemic, and continue to serve our community during this unprecedented time," York said, adding the Operators of the Year are the best of the best.

Crandall appreciates riders who follow instructions to wear masks if they're able to, and says that she's been impressed with the amount of kindness people have shown one another during the pandemic.

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