If you want to lead the agency that oversees the entire Portland metro region, you need an intimate understanding of the cities within it. What better way to gain that knowledge than from the seat of a bicycle?
Candidate for Metro Council president Lynn Peterson is no stranger to cycling so it makes perfect sense that the transportation industry veteran has launched a 24-city bike as part of her election campaign. Dubbed #24byBike, Peterson has already visited Gresham, Hillsboro, and Happy Valley. Back in December she joined staff from the Portland Bureau of Transportation for a close-up look at the route for the future Central City Green Loop. And this is not just a photo-op. Peterson is an experienced rider who I’ve seen pedaling a bike at a number of events over the years.
Peterson got her start in the transportation world as an engineer at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Since 1994 she’s held a number of positions in the Portland region, starting as an intern with the traffic-calming program at the City of Portland and most recently as the Director of Washington State Department of Transportation and interim director of land-use advocacy group 1000 Friends of Oregon.
As one of the panelists at last week’s Business for a Better Portland event, Peterson was asked what should be the top priority of any future transportation funding package. “Affordable housing that’s close to services, jobs, and transit. And we need it yesterday,” she replied. “We don’t do transportation for transportation’s sake.”
Peterson’s connections to the local planning scene run very deep and she’s considered a strong candidate to replace Tom Hughes at Metro in the elections coming up in May.
Rumor has it that Peterson will ride in the upcoming Worst Day of the Year Ride. I’m hoping to connect with her soon to learn more about her ideas on transportation and regional growth. Stay tuned for more coverage.
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