People went pants-less in Portland on Sunday. At 3 p.m. on the city's light-rail trains, doors slammed shut as folks arrived on schedule getting on trains to join others in a fun-filled, cheerful prank to let their bloomers and boxers freely fly.
This was the third annual No Pants on Max ride. Participants gathered all over Portland at various MAX stops near key areas, mostly near major shopping routes and the downtown area, doffed their pants and rode the rails sans trousers, skirts and other apparel ordinarily prescribed for public wear, especially on public transportation. This was an offshoot of a pants-less subway ride in New York City. Portland's 'boxer rebellion' is one of about two-dozen or so similar events that are held in various places around the world.
Digital Journal was there to capture the great event, after reading the announcement and the preliminaries in the Portland Oregonian on Saturday. During a ride from the train station in the Sunset Hills - Beaverton area out to Gresham, it appeared most of the fun took place near town. The first two or three stops on the train showed folk just wearing their regular gear, appropriate for the low 40's and windy day it was on Sunday afternoon. But as the train neared the downtown area, small groups of young people got on the train, wearing only their their underwear and coats and the straight faces they were commanded to exhibit. They had been told to follow the law at all times during the several moments before each entered the train to the hoots and hollers of peers.
While some people took pictures of the pants-less event, most passengers took the occasion in stride. "This is Portland," one pronounced. "Anything goes. Parades of Santas at Christmas and all sorts of practical jokes and strange behavior occur at different times. No one is too surprised." The man who spoke, with his wife on a seat beside him and his small daughter near the window, simply laughed in good humor as he and his family watched the live show before them. Another father made the whole thing a family affair as he stood pants-less holding his child.
This young man, holding his baby, was one of the participants in Portland's light rail, pants-less event.
Portland's event memorializes the first New York one which took place in January 2002 with fewer than 10 people participating. This year New York expects about 1000 pants-free riders. By Saturday Portland had about 150 riders signed up. The Portland Oregonian reported that as long as riders abide by laws governing public nudity and loitering the event was entirely legal.
Digital Journal brought back the evidence from the pants-free fun. It was one more reminder that the reputation Portland has set for itself as individualistic and adventurous, is borne out in boxer rebellion, pants-free train rides across town.