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Friends, family plant trees along I-205 path in honor of Gail Achterman

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Gail Achterman’s husband Chuck McGinnis (L),
his son Daniel McGinnis and daughter-in-law
Cheryl McGinnis, plant a tree in her honor
along the I-205 path.
(Photos: Friends of Trees)

Gail Achterman was honored over the weekend when friends, family, and colleagues planted more than a dozen oak trees in her memory along the I-205 path in SE Portland. Achterman passed away back in January after decades of public service as a lawyer and advocate for environmental preservation and sensible transportation policy. She was most recently Chair of the influential Oregon Transportation Commission.

The trees were planted in the grass along the I-205 path between SE Schiller and SE Pardee — in the district Achterman represented as OTC commissioner. (more…)

Remembering Gail Achterman

Saturday, January 28th, 2012
Gail Achterman speaking at the Oregon Bike Summit in April 2008. She died Saturday afternoon.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Gail Achterman, known and respected by many for her role in setting Oregon transportation policy, died this afternoon after a bout with pancreatic cancer. She was 62 years old.
(more…)

Chair of Oregon Transportation Commission resigns due to health reasons

Friday, August 26th, 2011
Oregon Bike Summit-20.jpg
Achterman speaking at the
2008 Oregon Bike Summit.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Gail Achterman is stepping down from her role as Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission due to health reasons.

The announcement came via email from Director of ODOT Matt Garrett yesterday, who said Achterman, “has significant health issues that require her full attention and energies.” According to a website where Achterman has been sharing updates about her condition, she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Here’s more from Garrett: (more…)

Changes at ODOT could lead to new era for active transportation

Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Sunday Parkways North Portland-38
ODOT’s move could level the playing
field for active transportation.
(Photos © J. Maus)

As I reported on Tuesday, a major organizational shift is taking shape at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). For the first time ever, ODOT will have an official Active Transportation “section” within the agency.

ODOT Director Matt Garrett made the announcement yesterday via an internal email, saying it was one of the agency’s “first steps to pursue a more multimodal vision.”

Not unexpectedly, reactions to the news were mixed. Those close to ODOT (staff, advisory committee members, and so on) are excited about the announcement, while those on the outside looking in (advocates, citizen activists, city staff), are skeptical.
(more…)

Reporter’s notebook: Recap of Oregon Bike Summit

Monday, June 7th, 2010
Oregon Bike Summit 2010-13
Oregon’s best and brightest bike
advocates all came together for
the 2010 Oregon Bike Summit.
- Photo Gallery -
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Oregon Bike Summit happened on Friday. It was a lot of excellent information packed into one day, without a lot of breaks. That meant it was difficult for me to simultaneously attend, listen, talk with people, photograph, and create coherent stories on the day of the Summit (especially since I left before it was over to see my 7 year-old daughter in a school performance). I did a few stories, but there’s much more to report. (more…)

ODOT charts course for a non-highway future

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Oregon Bike Summit-20.jpg
Gail Achterman at the 2008
Oregon Bike Summit.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Transportation Commission is like the Jedi Council when it comes to setting statewide transportation policy. Its members are appointed by the governor and they have tremendous influence over funding, setting direction and priorities, and a host of other decisions that have a direct impact on our state’s transportation system.

With Oregon on an exciting biking trajectory, it occurred to me that all our momentum could be stifled if ODOT (whom the OTC sets policy direction for) is not ready to handle it.

In other words, imagine a funnel with all the projects, programs and great ideas for biking at the top, and a very small hole on the bottom. The hole is ODOT. (more…)

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