PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s been two years since tragedy struck the Hollywood Transit Station. The station looks different today. There’s a beautiful memorial wall. And Sunday, the station was decked with flowers placed by Trimet.
Two years ago, three men were stabbed — two, Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, lost their lives — standing up for two young women who police say were being racially harassed by a man on the MAX train.
The station may look different, but when it comes to how people feel when they visit, a lot of emotions have stayed the same. Pain and suffering have a way of making time stand still.
“It feels like just yesterday,” said Lamar Martin, who was visiting the station Sunday. “I didn’t know it was two years. … Every time I walk past this area, it always comes to mind. I always think about it. I’m happy that the people who did survive are still here with us."
Micah Fletcher, the third man who was attacked, survived. Fletcher’s mother, Margie Fletcher, spoke to KGW on Sunday.
“It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, two years later,” she said.
Margie said some things have made healing nearly impossible, like the fact that the trial for Jeremy Christian, the man charged with the murders, has been delayed until January.
Earlier this month, Christian’s defense team told the judge it needed more time to prepare for the trial, which was supposed to start in June. Christian’s lawyers also said they want to wait for potential changes to death penalty sentencing currently being debated by lawmakers.
“The fact that this trial is dragging on … now we have to wait another entire year, who knows?” Margie Fletcher said. “We might have to wait longer, and as long as that guy is still in the court system and it’s not done, well, it’s not done.”
Asha Deliverance, the mother of Taliesin Namkai-Meche, also spoke to KGW on Sunday, and shared her reflections on the past two years. At an event hosted by the Muslim Education Trust, she said her son, Fletcher, and Best were on the train for a reason.
"To seal that fracture caused by hatred and bigotry with true love and compassion," Deliverance said.
She encouraged others to follow their lead.
"No matter what happens here with all of us, choosing love is ultimately the only choice we have," she said.
TriMet placed flowers by the colorful mural at Hollywood Transit Station on Sunday with the words, "We Chose Love," on the bouquets. The mural has transformed the station and helped bring healing to many who use it.
“There was garbage everywhere [before],” Justine Morris, a MAX passenger who was at the station Sunday. “But it’s so sad that it had to take this tragedy for them to clean up this area and make it nice. … I don’t mind coming over here now.”
A place where even though time seems to stand still, there is the hope of moving on.
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Trimet issued a statement Sunday that read, in part, “Our hearts are with those touched by the tragic events of May 26, 2017, not only on the anniversary of the deadly attacks, but every day.”
Earlier this week, the family of one of the victims, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against Trimet and the Portland Police Bureau. The lawsuit claims that police and Trimet were aware of Christian’s alleged violent history, and didn’t intervene when they had a chance.