ODOT renames Portland region headquarters after outgoing director Matt Garrett

Presenting the Matthew L. Garrett Building.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s regional headquarters in Portland is now known as the Matthew L. Garrett Building.

The agency installed the name of its outgoing director on the side of the building last Friday. He resigned from the position back in January and his last day at the agency is June 30th.

In a video published by ODOT (below) you can see crews installing Garrett’s name on the new building while co-workers pile on the praise. Region 1 Public Information Officer Don Hamilton says, “Matt Garrett’s great legacy for ODOT was the standard he set for kindness and decency. I think naming this building after him is a reminder of that standard he set for all of us at ODOT.”

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Matt Garrett has resigned from ODOT

Matt Garrett in 2012.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Huge news from the State of Oregon today: ODOT Director Matt Garrett has resigned.

This is potentially – depending on his replacement – a massive development that could lead to a different culture in the automobile-centric agency.

Garrett was an embattled agency head who had been the subject of severe criticisms from electeds, advocates, and transportation reform leaders.

I’m out of town at the moment and unable to fully analyze and report on this. So for now, here’s the statement from ODOT:

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Lawmakers, ODOT Director hear emotional testimony at Vision Zero bill hearing

ODOT Director Matt Garrett (lower right) was in the house for today’s hearing.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

A bill that would establish an official State of Oregon Vision Zero Task Force got its first public hearing today. And it was heart-wrenching.

The eight members of the House Committee On Transportation Policy who presided over the hearing for House Bill 2667 probably didn’t expect the 8:00 am start time to attract testimony from nearly two-dozen people. And they probably didn’t expect to hear from people like Marina Hajek, the mother of a 10-year old boy who was hit and killed by a reckless, speeding driver while walking his bike across a street in Eugene 10 years ago.

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Audit says ODOT is misaligned with governing body, commissioners vow change

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ODOT Director Matt Garrett listens to a presentation about the audit from Tyler Duvall of McKinsey & Company.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett sat silenty for nearly two hours today while members of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC, ODOT’s governing body) probed deeper into an audit of the agency he has led since 2005.

ODOT got solid marks from auditors in some categories — like organizational culture and building and maintaining highways. But auditors also found the agency needs a clearer short-term plan and more effective coordination with its governing body, the OTC.

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Collision on St Johns Bridge kills bicycle rider – Updated

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View of the west end of the St. Johns Bridge. Despite being a very popular and important bikeway, it's quite inhospitable for users not inside a motor vehicle.
View of the west end of the St. Johns Bridge. Despite being a very popular and important bikeway, it’s quite inhospitable for users not inside a motor vehicle.

A man died while riding his bike on the St Johns Bridge today. He became the 37th person to die as a result of a traffic collision in Portland thiss year.

Not many details have been released. I’ve pasted the most recent police statement below:

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Republican legislators call for ODOT director to quit over emissions claims

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ODOT Director Matt Garrett

Matt Garrett has led ODOT since 2005.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A few weeks after left-leaning former Metro president David Bragdon all but called for the firing of Oregon’s top transportation official, legislative Republicans are calling for it explicitly.

Oregon Department of Transportation Director Matt Garrett is facing criticism from both sides over the incident, earlier this year, when his office and Gov. Kate Brown’s temporarily claimed that tens of millions of dollars in freeway investments would be part of reducing long-run carbon emissions in Oregon by more than 2 million metric tons.

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ODOT faces ‘incompetence or dishonesty at the highest levels,’ former Metro president says

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David Bragdon speaking 2

David Bragdon earlier this year.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Apparently this is what happens when an elected official doesn’t have to play nice any more.

Former two-term Metro President David Bragdon launched a politely spoken but blistering attack on the Oregon Department of Transportation Friday, urging his former state to reform its transportation system in response to “incompetence or dishonesty at the highest levels of ODOT,” among other factors.

Bragdon, who left office in 2010 for a top planning job in New York City and now runs a nonprofit think tank called TransitCenter, spoke in a lunchtime address to the City Club of Portland. His prepared remarks focused on the need to change what he called “the insanity of Oregon’s transportation governance system” but his criticism of the department’s leadership deepened in off-the-cuff answers to questions afterward about the Columbia River Crossing.

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Regional ODOT Director Jason Tell leaves job for private sector

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Jason Tell at a Safe Routes to School
event in February 2008.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland region’s top Oregon Department of Transportation official has left his post and taken a job with a private company. Jason Tell, who has spent 18 years with ODOT — eight of them as Region 1 Director — is now the Senior Planning Manager at the downtown Portland office of Parsons Brinckerhoff.

ODOT has named Planning and Development Manager Rian Windsheimer as the interim Region 1 Director.

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ODOT launches initiative to move away from “highway-centric” approach

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The Intermodalists: ODOT Highway Division Administrator
Paul Mather and Transportation Development Division
Administrator Jerri Bohard.
(Photo: ODOT)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced another shift in their approach to transportation planning and it couldn’t come at a better time. As recent national research and major news headlines continue to reflect a move away from automobile use among major swaths of the American public, and as highway funding levels nosedive, smart transportation agencies are beginning to adapt.

To respond to these changes, ODOT has announced “Intermodal Oregon” a new initiative that will help the agency “move away from a siloed and highway-centric approach to business.” Here’s how ODOT describes the transition they’re going through (emphases mine):

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