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For visitors to Portland, the cheapest way to arrive and leave from PDX (Portland International Airport) is via the MAX light rail system. There are five color-coded lines: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green and Orange.
Trimet MAX information https://trimet.org/max/
MAX connects the airport (station nearest to Baggage Claim carousel 1) with downtown Portland; the west side silicon forest area of Hillsboro; the eastside suburb of Gresham; Delta Park and Expo Center to the north; the southwest suburb of Clackamas, including the big shopping mall complex; and SE Portland, the suburb of Milwaukie and Portland State University.
Trains run every 15 minutes for most of the day. Trains may be less frequent in the late evenings and usually do not run all night.
The ticket price varies, but currently tops out at $2.50 for a two-hour adult ticket to $5.00 for an adult *all zone* one-day pass. There are senior and youth discounts. Fares.
If you buy the all day MAX pass you can transfer to the WES commuter train with the same ticket. It goes as far south as Wilsonville, but only during commute hours ~5am to 9am or so and 3:30-7:30pm. Routes and times available on Trimet.org.
Once in Portland, MAX is a great way to get around without a car.
It takes about 40-45 minutes to get from PDX to downtown. The website www.trimet.org can give you times and bus numbers for most Trimet routes. The boarding area for bus and MAX and is right at one end of the airport area.
For taxi riders and ride-sharing users, proceed to Island 1 by using a crosswalk just outside of baggage claim. Uber & Lyft are legal in Portland as of Fall 2015.