'Wiley Coyote' Wanders Aboard Airport MAX


Mar 11, 2001
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A coyote is restrained by an animal control pole on board a MAX train Wednesday in Portland. (Photograph from Dennis Maxwell, Port of Portland)[

February 14, 2002

By Jim Parker, kgw.com Staff

There's been another wildlife carnivore sighting in metro Portland, but this time it was captured on film.

Officials with the Port of Portland managed to photograph a small coyote that boarded the Tri-Met’s Airport MAX Red Line on Wednesday, around 11:30 a.m.

The coyote apparently boarded at the Airport Terminal Station. The coyote was discovered by Tri-Met staff. He was just curled up in a seat on the MAX.

"He was calm, he wasn't really wild or anything," said Tri-Met security officer Calvin Toussaint, who first spotted the coyote.

"He was really sweet," added Port of Portland spokesowman Elisa Dozono said. "He didn't growl or anything."

Port of Portland Airfield Operations and Wildlife staff lassoed the unexpected rider and released the animal on nearby airport property.

The coyote quickly "ran away and bounded after some field mice," Dozono said.

Port officials said having the wild coyote wander aboard the MAX didn't surprise them. They said many coyotes live in the PDX area and they've been aware of problems with coyotes in the past.

The reddish-brown little critter was apparently chased off the tarmac at Portland International Airport, so he hopped onto a light-rail train instead, Dozono said.

The coyote was spotted darting under MAX trains arriving at the airport Wednesday morning, and jumped into a train that had just arrived from downtown Portland.

Coyotes go out of their way to avoid humans and are more likely to be afraid of people than vice versa, said wildlife experts.

Tri-Met spokeswoman Mary Fetsch said, tongue-in-cheek, that she wasn’t sure if the "wiley coyote" had a valid transit fare.

The coyote sighting aboard the Airport MAX is the latest in a string of wild animal sightings in the Portland area recently.

As many as five different people reported seeing a large wild cougar in the past two months in the popular Powell Butte recreation area in Southeast Portland. The sightings stretched into the Springwater Corridor.

Park workers have warned hikers not to walk alone in the popular nature park. They also had posted warning signs throughout the park recently.

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