City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced today that Chris Warner has accepted her offer to be the new Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
Warner had served as the agency’s interim director since July 2018 after previous director Leah Treat left for a job in the private sector.
“Director Warner brings over twenty years of public sector management and transportation policy expertise to his position,” Eudaly said in a statement. “As a policy and technical expert, he has worked at the local, state, and federal levels for Governor Ted Kulongoski, Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Peter DeFazio and City Commissioner Steve Novick.”
Commissioner Eudaly said she chose Warner after a national search (in part) because, “He understands how difficult it will be to reorient our transportation system to meet the challenges of the future… he knows PBOT, and he has the skills and experience necessary to turn ideas into actions.”
Warner’s style is much different than his predecessor. He doesn’t seek publicity and doesn’t seem to be interested in building a national profile. Even Eudaly referred to his “reputation for quiet competence and hard work.”
Warner was former City Commissioner Steve Novick’s Chief of Staff when Novick was in charge of PBOT and was named assistant director of PBOT in 2016. In 2015 Warner attended a week-long study tour of Copenhagen with a group of PBOT staff and downtown business leaders.
In her statement today, Eudaly credited Warner for implementing PBOT’s new crash response protocol and for his work in speeding up implementation of the new bus/bike lane on SW Madison, the first Central City in Motion project to hit the ground.
Warner assumes this position amid heightened scrutiny of one of the bureau’s marquee initiatives. Yesterday the City Auditor released a report that found PBOT’s Fixing Our Streets program has had “ineffective monitoring and oversight” and that many of the promised projects are overdue. PBOT is also facing pressure to meet its Vision Zero goals amid a rising traffic death toll
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