Long-time charter bus company shuts down

Long-time charter bus company shuts down »Play Video

Raz Transportation, a long-time fixture on the Portland charter bus scene, has closed down.

The company, founded 76 years ago, had been having a rough go of it economically since October, according to Lisa Holcomb, the company’s acting operations manager.

“We’re weighing options,” Holcomb told KATU on Monday. “We could continue, we could close. One thing that I can assure is that no one will be left stranded.”

But on Tuesday, the company confirmed it was closing down. KATU also spoke with several customers who say they have been left stranded.

"I got an email on the bus stating our charter was canceled," said Daniele Grigsby, who is president of the Southridge & Aloha Snowboard team, which is made up of Southridge and Aloha high schoolers.

The team has used Raz charter buses for more than a decade. The abrupt cancellation has left them high and dry. The team had also pre-paid for more bus trips and Grigsby isn't sure if, or when, she'll get a refund.

"I was told today their first obligation is to make payroll," said Grigsby. "After payroll they will be sending out any of the deposits they can refund after they liquidate assets."

Grigsby is worried about how to handle transportation needs in the coming weeks. The team can't afford to book with a new charter company until it gets a refund from Raz.

KATU repeatedly tried to contact Raz managers for interviews. General Manager Chris Humphries said no one from the company would grant an interview. He did send an email to KATU which said in part, "This is a sad thing for us as well as our customers and we are doing our best for all involved."

Holcomb said that the company, which was run by the Raz family until about six years ago, had hundreds of clients ranging from Intel and Spirit Mountain Casino to club sports teams and church groups.

Grigsby, as well as other local teams, are trying to find alternative transportation arrangements.