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Lynn Peterson named as Governor’s transportation policy advisor

Posted by on February 21st, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Lynn Peterson

Big news from Salem today: Governor John Kitzhaber has announced that Clackamas County Commissioner Lynn Peterson will be his new ‘Sustainable Communities and Transportation Policy Advisor’ (a new position). Peterson was previously rumored as a candidate for ODOT Director, but Kitzhaber recently ended that speculation when he announced just last week that Matt Garrett would remain in that position.

As we reported last month, Peterson was primed for a spot in Kitzhaber’s office. She endorsed Kitzhaber in 2010 and she told us that if offered the ODOT job, she’d “be interested.” While she won’t lead ODOT, Peterson might have found a position that suits her even better.

Scenic Bikeway

In this file photo from 2005, Peterson stands with
former Metro Councilor Robert Liberty
and former Metro President David Bragdon.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Peterson’s transportation credentials — and her commitment to transit, bicycling and walking — are well known. She has previously worked as a planner for TriMet and was also a transportation advocate for land-use non-profit 1000 Friends of Oregon. Back in December, Peterson put $150,000 in planning money in the Lake Oswego to Portland streetcar project toward determining the feasibility of a bikeway on Highway 43.

In a statement today, Governor Kitzhaber said, “Her knowledge, dedication and expertise will be integral to helping get Oregonians back to work building a sustainable 21st century transportation system.”

Here’s more from the Governor’s press release:

Ms. Peterson will lead the Governor’s policy efforts on transportation initiatives including, high speed rail, freight and highway planning and improvement, the Solar Highway, and linking transportation to housing and sustainability.

This appointment is sure to make active transportation advocates across the state very excited as she’s a strong proponent of rail and in projects that reduce people’s reliance on cars. It remains to be seen how Peterson will interact with ODOT’s top brass and what exactly her level of influence will be at the decision-making table, but shes got the credentials and experience to have a major impact if given the opportunity.

Attendees of the upcoming Oregon Active Transportation Summit (March 29-30) will get a chance to meet Peterson. She’ll moderate a panel featuring Andy Clarke (League of American Bicyclists), Tim Blumenthal (Bikes Belong) and Gail Achterman (Oregon Transportation Commission).

Peterson will resign from her position as Clackamas County Chair on March 11th and will begin working in the Governor’s office on March 14th.

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  • Jim Labbe February 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    This is good news for Oregon but a huge loss for Clackamas County where Peterson’s leadership, courage, and smarts will be greatly missed.

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  • eli bishop February 21, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    yes, i was thinking what a loss this would be to clackamas, an area that really needs her kind of vision. the sellwood bridge funding, for instance, might be in jeopardy when someone else fills that power vacuum.

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  • M E Fitz February 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Being a rural Clackamas county resident, this is bitter sweet. After the flooding on the Sandy River in January, the bridge across the Zigzag River was closed to motor vehicles. Once the repair work on the bridge started a couple weeks later, the bridge as closed to all pedestrians and bicycles. Can you say 10 mile detour for cars and 6 mile detour for bikes and pedestrians? I can walk 1/2 to work and my son 3/4 of a mile to school normally. I asked the project manager with the county to reconsider this. I made no headway. Then I wrote to the county commissioners. Not sure if it was my letter or not but the project manager then provided local access for foot and bike travel. Wouldn’t surprise me if Lynn supported my letter.

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  • Andrew February 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

    This is great news for Lynn and for Oregon, although I would certainly have preferred to have her at ODOT’s helm. A better solution (and more fitting with “shaking up the way government does business”) would have been to appoint her to ODOT and put the ODOT director in the driver’s seat on restarting the CRC project.

    No one there thinks the $130k McCaig has received from the project makes her a little tainted for the role?

    But congratulations to Lynn. She’s smart, savvy and takes a long-term look at transportation systems, not just projects and improvements.

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  • Andrew February 22, 2011 at 9:20 am

    And when do we get to start our wild speculation on who will replace her as chair? I’ll throw Bob Austin’s name in there right now! He’s got the smarts and vision to continue Lynn’s work in steering Clackamas County into a future that improves upon and maintains its diversity in land-use and transportation planning.

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    • Andrew February 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

      Then again, I’m sure they’ll appoint from within….Because my wild ideas never gain ground.

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  • matt picio February 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    This reminds me a lot of when Carlotta Collette moved from Milwaukie City Council to Metro – great news for the agency on the receiving end, but a serious vaccum in some respects in the post being vacated. It’s great to see people with dedication and talent being elected/appointed to fill the higher level positions, and I hope that Clackamas County elects a visionary commissioner to replace Lynn Peterson.

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  • Alex Phillips February 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Her long list of biking credentials is actually even longer then what is listed above: she is also a member of the State Scenic Bikeways Committee.

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