(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The new executive director of Portland Streetcar Inc (PSI) is a familiar face and name for many regular BikePortland readers. Dan Bower, formerly the head of PBOT’s Active Transportation Division, will be PSI’s first full time executive director according to a statement made by the non-profit today.
Bower will take over for the outgoing leader of PSI, Rick Gustafson, who announced his retirement yesterday. PSI has operated Portland’s streetcar system since 1995.
While at PBOT, Bower was the key staffer behind many of the agency’s largest bicycle initiatives. His many responsibilities included Sunday Parkways planning and a project that will invest over $6 million to update and improve bike access in downtown Portland. Notably, Bower was the point-person for developing Portland’s plans for bike share. From securing the funding to negotiating the operations contract with Alta Bicycle Share — Bower was the man pulling the strings. It’s unclear to us at this point how/if his absence might impact bike share and whether or not the tumultuous project played into on his decision to leave PBOT. Just yesterday, we reported that Portland’s bike share plans are likely to be delayed once again and the system isn’t expected to be launched until 2015.
Bower, who has been at PBOT for 11 years, was a central figure within PBOT’s Active Transportation Division and his absence — and the relationships and institutional knowledge that goes along with it — will leave a big hole at the agency.
One possible silver lining is that Bower might be the just the right person to help PSI finally address the safety issues their tracks cause to bicycle routes all over town. Bower is a daily bike rider himself, which means it’s highly probable he’s crashed on the tracks he’ll know have the control to improve.
Here’s what Bower will be doing in his new role, according to an official description of the position:
The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and will be responsible for leading and managing PSI’s development and operations. This seasoned professional will be instrumental in employing a “Customer First” approach to managing PSI while demonstrating the capabilities to oversee finance, operation, board development/engagement, and importantly, the key regional partnerships that include TriMet and the City of Portland. This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced transit and/or not-for-profit leader/administrator to use excellend relationship building skills to work closely and creatively with diverse stakeholders.