“We need a robust transit system if we are going to tackle climate change, help people move out of poverty and homelessness, and reinvigorate our downtown.”– Tyler Frisbee, incoming member TriMet Board of Directors
(Photo: Frisbee at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. in 2012 by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
Tyler Frisbee is slated to be a member of the TriMet Board of Directors. Frisbee was nominated by Oregon Governor Tina Kotek late last month.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Frisbee served six years as a legislative assistant in the office of Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer and was a liaison for bike and transportation advocates. After leaving Blumenauer’s office in 2014, she served as policy director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition for one year. Following her stint at SFBC, she worked at Metro for nearly seven years on government affairs and policy development.
Last month, Frisbee returned to Rep. Blumenauer’s office with the new title of senior strategic advisor.
The nomination came just a few weeks after we reported on comments about TriMet Governor Kotek made in an interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting on March 3rd. “I don’t think we’ve paid enough attention to how TriMet is doing their business,” the governor said.
Besides her resume and track record around bicycling and progressive transportation policies, one of the most high-profile projects Frisbee worked on at Metro was the unsuccessful Get Moving 2020 transportation funding measure campaign. In 2017, Frisbee was one of three panelists (along with former PBOT Director Leah Treat and Chris Rall, a regional organizer with Transportation for America) at an event hosted by the Portland chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation. When the topic of choosing projects for the 2020 funding measure came up, Frisbee’s predilection for political compromise came through. “I don’t think we’re at the point of picking projects yet. And it’s not about a percentage [of which which modes get funded], it’s about what projects do you need to get people on board. You have to build the package for the yes votes.”
These are precarious times for TriMet as the agency continues to try and dig out of a major slump brought on by the Covid pandemic and years of bad headlines about system safety. While they’ve made significant service changes as part of their promising Forward Together plan and ridership is ticking up compared to the last few years (total boardings in February 2023 were up nearly 19% over the previous year), they are also on course to raise fares for the first time in a decade and the massive shift away from office commutes create ominous clouds for the future.
Reached via email this morning, Frisbee said she was honored to be nominated. “We need a robust transit system if we are going to tackle climate change, help people move out of poverty and homelessness, and reinvigorate our downtown,” she shared in an email. “I appreciate that Governor Kotek sees how connected all of these challenges are, and understands TriMet’s role in tackling them.”
If her nomination is approved by the Oregon Senate, Frisbee will serve a four-year term on the board that starts June 1st and runs through 2027.
Correction, 4/7 at 9:03 am: The original version of this story said Frisbee had been appointed to the TriMet Board. That was wrong. She has just been appointed and will have to be approved by the Senate before her appointment is official. I regret the error and any confusion it caused.