PORTLAND -- The bus driver stabbed Wednesday said he recognized his attacker as a man who "frequently rides the TriMet system," according to a statement from the union.
Just before 3 p.m, the driver was stabbed two or three times in the abdomen, said Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson. He said the driver had been walking outside the break room at the TriMet station near Southeast 94th Avenue and Southeast Foster Road.
The driver was able to get to his bus where he called 911. He told the union that it was a terrifying experience.
Officers and medical personnel arrived shortly after and took the man to Oregon Health & Science University with injuries that were not life-threatening. His name has not yet been released.
"Our thoughts and concerns are with the operator," said TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt.
Witnesses said the suspect fled the area westbound on Foster Road. He was described as a white man in his mid-30s, with brown hair and tattoos on his neck. He was wearing black pants and a green T-shirt, Simpson said.
The TriMet bus drivers' union said it wanted to help circulate a detailed description of the attacker Thursday, hoping it would lead to his capture. "...he frequently rides the TriMet system, especially lines 19, 71 and 72 around the 82nd and Duke area... His distinguishing marks include a checkerboard tattoo around his neck. He may have other tattoo’s but the one around his neck is the most distinctive," the statement explained.
The attacker appeared to be a transient, according to TriMet officials, and may frequent the homeless camps set up along I-205. People living in the area have reported many problems related to transients, TriMet officials said. They planned to address the issue with the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Transit police were assisting Portland officers with the investigation and patrols were increased in the area Wednesday night.
In April a different TriMet driver was stabbed just a few blocks away. Driver Brian Nixon said he thinks his attacker was also a transient.
Nixon was stabbed twice in his leg as he came out of a portable toilet set up by TriMet for drivers in Southeast Portland. Police circulated a sketch of the suspect and TriMet offered a reward for his capture, but no arrests have been made.
The descriptions indicate that the suspects in the two recent stabbings were not the same person.