oregon department of transportation

Washington DOT will reallocate highway space as part of ‘Healthy, Active Streets’ program

Avatar by on July 8th, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Imagine if Portland could ask for a carfree lane on 82nd Ave. Then imagine if ODOT actually listened.

Unlike our Oregon Department of Transportation whose seems to be carrying out a policy to rid their highways of everything but people in cars, the Washington Department of Transportation announced yesterday that it’s getting on the open streets train.

Imagine that. A state DOT voluntarily banning automobile users from lanes and even complete roadways all in the name of safety and health.
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ODOT is removing those dangerous guardrails on the Historic Highway

Avatar by on July 6th, 2020 at 4:49 pm

“That was the wrong decision and we are in the process of removing two stretches of that guardrail now.”
— Rian Windsheimer, ODOT Region 1 director

New guardrails on Historic Columbia River Highway along Sandy River.
(Photos by BikePortland Forum user amadeusb4)

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Homeowners along Sandy River defend ODOT’s bike-unfriendly guardrails

Avatar by on July 2nd, 2020 at 4:26 pm

Former biking space on Historic Highway.
(Photo: Forum user amadeusb4)

We’re still trying to learn more about why the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) installed three sections of guardrails in the paved shoulder of the Historic Columbia River Highway south of Interstate 84 last week. These guardrails narrow valuable space used by many bicycle riders and their dangerous placement increases odds of stressful passes and collisions.

The fact that ODOT did this without any public notice and on one of the most important and valuable cycling routes in the state is unconscionable and just the latest example of the agency’s negligent stewardship of our transportation system. We’ve reached out to ODOT leadership for further comment and clarification but haven’t heard back.

Since our story posted on Monday, we’ve read dozens of comments expressing grave concerns and outrage. Now homeowners who live along the road where the guardrails were installed are defending the project, saying the guardrails are necessary to thwart illegal campers and to make the road safer for drivers.[Read more…]

New directors, new divisions: ODOT’s dramatically different new org structure

Avatar by on December 18th, 2019 at 2:19 pm

New ODOT org chart effective as of yesterday.

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Oregon Transportation Commission offers Kris Strickler job as next ODOT Director

Avatar by on September 10th, 2019 at 5:42 pm

Kris Strickler

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With eye on Portland-area freeway expansions, ODOT announces new “Mega Projects” office

Avatar by on September 6th, 2019 at 10:05 am

Prep for a future Columbia River crossing project will be among the office’s priorities.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is bulking up to handle a future where the Portland region is an epicenter of highway megaprojects.

In an email (below) sent yesterday afternoon to all employees, ODOT Deputy Director Paul Mather announced the formation of the new Office of Urban Mobility & Mega Projects to be based in Portland. A search process for a manager of this office is just getting underway.

The move comes in response to House Bill 2017, the $5.3 billion transportation package passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2017. That bill laid out funding for several projects in the Portland region (ODOT Region 1) and it defined “mega transportation projects” as those that, “cost at least $360 million to complete, that attract a high level of public attention or political interest because of substantial direct and indirect impacts on the community or environment or that require a high level of attention to manage the project successfully.” (The bill also established the Joint Interim Task Force On Mega Transportation Projects.)

Among the projects ODOT will focus on in this new office are expansions to I-5 and I-205, and an effort to re-kindle the Columbia River Crossing. [Read more…]

You have until Thursday to comment on ODOT Director job description

Avatar by on May 7th, 2019 at 1:46 pm

What would you like to see in the leader of ODOT?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation is in desperate need of new leadership. Thankfully, the Oregon Transportation Commission is moving full steam ahead in their search for a new director.

The OTC’s search committee — led by Vice Chair Bob Van Brocklin, a lawyer with Stoel Rives LLP — has published a draft version of the job description and will accept public comment on it until this Thursday, May 9th. Below are a few salient excerpts from the description:

The OTC seeks a new chief executive that will manage ODOT through significant change…
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Deputy director of The Street Trust takes job at ODOT

Avatar by on November 17th, 2017 at 11:56 am

LeeAnne Fergason.
(Photo: Tanja Olson)

LeeAnne Fergason is the new Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

ODOT announced the hire in a statement today, saying Fergason will join the agency in mid-December.

Reached today via email, Fergason told us she’s excited for her new role but, “Deeply saddened to say goodbye to The Street Trust.” “The Street Trust’s staff (old and new), partners (so many amazing partners), and supporters (our members and friends),” she continued, “have helped me so much, and I’m eternally grateful for all the smart, passionate, and kind people that have taken the time to teach me.”

Fergason is the longest tenured employee at The Street Trust. According to her official bio she began work there as a bike safety education instructor in 2007. Fergason became The Street Trust’s main advocate for Safe Routes to School (a program they implement with a combination of state, federal, and regional funding) and spearheaded their “For Every Kid” campaign. She moved into the deputy director role back in July when The Street Trust’s former deputy director Stephanie Noll left the organization.

There’s a lot of Safe Routes work to do at ODOT these days. The former manager of the program, Julie Yip, recently retired, and the statewide transportation package includes $125 million over the next 10 years for a new Safe Routes to School grant program. As ODOT announced today, one of Fergason’s first tasks will be to staff a new Rules Advisory Committee that will create the policy framework for how these new funds will be allocated.
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You could be the manager of ODOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Program

Avatar by on August 17th, 2017 at 11:15 am

You could have a hand in creating ODOT’s bike safety PSAs!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The hiring binge at the Oregon Department of Transportation continues and they just announced a new opening that has the transportation reform crowd buzzing.

ODOT’s current Safe Routes to School and Bike/Ped Safety Coordinator Julie Yip is retiring and the agency is looking for someone to replace her. In the job description, ODOT says the new hire will oversee the existing safety programs for bicycling and walking and will also, “develop and implement transportation safety programs and projects.”

This is one of those “guru” positions that — with the right person — could have a significant impact on biking and walking locally and statewide. While the scope of this job is crucially important (especially with an alarming rise in traffic deaths in recent years) and relatively broad, unfortunately the pay isn’t quite what we’d hope for. Just $41,000 to $60,000 a year probably isn’t enough to snag someone with a lot of experience and swagger to make big things happen. Also note that under “special qualifications” ODOT says, “Driving is an essential function of this position. A valid driver license and an acceptable driving record are required for this position.”

Here’s the list of “duties and responsibilities”:[Read more…]

ODOT’s new safe driving competition will use app that locks phone screen while driving

Avatar by on August 1st, 2017 at 11:05 am

The app shows this screen when a car is in motion.

At this point the State of Oregon seems willing to try anything to change our dangerous culture of distracted driving.

To take a bite out of an alarming rise in traffic deaths last year — the 495 people who died was a 58 percent rise from 2013 — the Oregon Department of Transportation convened a task force and purchased unmarked patrol cars, published a report on the “epidemic”, and most recently the legislature acted to tighten a loophole in our existing distracted driving law.

Their latest effort will rely on friendly competition. Drive Healthy is the name of an initiative announced today that will pit individuals and organizations against each other to see who can be the safest driver. Similar to the Bike Commute Challenge, people will sign up online and have their results tracked via the Livesaver app and results will be posted on a public leaderboard. Once downloaded, the app runs in the background and automatically locks your phone when you drive (see screenshot at right). The fewer times you unlock the phone, the more points you get. The only functions available while driving are “Emergency Call” and “Passenger Unlock”.

Here’s more from ODOT and the DriveHealthy.org website:[Read more…]