Opposition to Governor Brown’s OTC pick strengthens

Lee Beyer

An unprecedented level of opposition has formed against Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s nomination for a seat on the Oregon Transportation Commission.

The powerful, unelected, five-member body oversees the Oregon Department of Transportation and decides how to spend the state’s $5.1 billion transportation budget.

Brown nominated outgoing State Senator Lee Beyer to a four-year term that would start this coming January. The Senate Committee in charge of commission appointments meets tomorrow (Wednesday, 9/21) and advocates leading the charge against the nomination have kicked their effort up a notch.

A new statement and letter released today by The Street Trust includes a list of 31 organizations and over 175 individuals from across the state who’ve signed onto the opposition effort.

Here’s the list of organizations and their leaders:

1000 Friends of Oregon, Brett Morgan
Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST), Rob Zako
Climate Solutions, Vee Paykar
Oregon Environmental Council, Sara Wright
Oregon Just Transition Alliance, Joel Iboa
Oregon Walks, Ashton Simpson
Rogue Action Center, Dana Greenblatt
The Street Trust and The Street Trust Action Fund, Sarah Iannarone
Verde, Vivian Satterfield
Coalition of Communities of Color, Taren Evans
Getting There Together Coalition, Ariadna Falcon Gonzalez
Ardelis Inc., Brian Roddy
Bend Bikes, LeeAnn O’Neill
Bikabout, Megan Ramey
Bike Loud PDX, Kiel Johnson
Gorge Pedal, Armando Zelada
Lithic Technology, Robert Galanakis
Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association, Matchu Williams
Onward Oregon, Lenny Dee
OPAL Environmental Justice, Lee Helfend
Oregon and SW Washington Families for Safe Streets, Michelle DuBarry
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, David De La Torre
Pedal Bike Tours, Todd Roll
Plugstart, Thor Hinckley
Portland: Neighbors Welcome, Aaron Brown
Portland Youth Climate Strike, Adah Crandall
Safe Routes to Schools, Valerie Rosenberg
Sunrise Beaverton, Amy Johnson
Sunrise PDX, Danny Cage
Sunrise Rural Oregon, Cassie Wilson

Those who oppose the Governor’s nomination say she failed to solicit recommendation and did not consult with stakeholders statewide. “They are also concerned that it does not address climate change or maintain racial diversity on the influential OTC. They note that outgoing Commissioner Alando Simpson is a younger Black business owner from Portland (ODOT Region 1); Brown’s proposed replacement is a retiree from Springfield (ODOT Region 2),” the statement reads.

The Street Trust Executive Director Sarah Iannarone is spearheading the campaign against Beyer’s appointment. “In addition to implementing congestion pricing and tolling, the OTC will be overseeing billions of dollars of investment here in the coming decade,” she said in today’s statement. “To see these major projects implemented effectively and equitably, we need leaders who are connected to our region and representative of its increasing diversity.”

They’re asking for a pause on the process so the next administration can make this important appointment.

The nomination will be considered by the Senate Interim Committee On Rules and Executive Appointments at a meeting Wednesday at 2:30 pm.

View the letter and signatories here.

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Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
7 days ago

In case you’re scoring at home the Sept 20 WW story posted by Aaron Mesh included an official quote from Governor Brown’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Merah that the Governor is standing behind her nomination of Senator Beyer to the OTC. In fact if you read the official statement it’s a full throated endorsement of Senator Beyer from the Governor. I’d say this so called “strengthened opposition” is dead in the water. Senate confirmation will be nothing more than a formality.

Fred
Fred
7 days ago

I like it, but do these signatories have any actual power in Oregon? We shall see today.

Yeah right
Yeah right
6 days ago

They’re asking for a pause on the process so the next administration can make this important appointment.” Isn’t that straight out of Mitch McConnell’s playbook? #hypocrisy

steve scarich
steve scarich
6 days ago
Reply to  Yeah right

It also makes no sense. I suspect it is just a ploy. Whoever is elected our next Governor will be no less liberal, and probably a lot less, than our current denizen.