oregon department of transportation

Massive list of ODOT job openings is opportunity to change agency culture

Avatar by on July 26th, 2017 at 9:28 am

OTC meeting in Salem-4.jpg

Get into the trenches to change the agency from the inside!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One way to change the culture at an out-of-touch government agency is to fill its ranks with people who “get it”. In the case of the Oregon Department of Transportation, they need more staff with fresh perspectives on our state’s mobility problems and potential solutions.

If you’re a transportation professional — or have always dreamed of being one — now is a good time to take a look at ODOT jobs. With a statewide hiring freeze just lifted, the agency has a massive backlog of positions to fill.

Last week I received several emails from ODOT sources encouraging people who are “multimodal savvy” (a.k.a. those who think biking, walking and transit deserve respect and priority over single-occupancy motorized vehicles) to consider applying for a long list of job openings (see them below).
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Oregon DOT launches ‘Safétymon Go’ campaign

Avatar by on August 31st, 2016 at 9:43 am

Safetywhirl is one of 11 characters created by ODOT to encourage road safety.

Safetywhirl is one of 11 characters created by ODOT to encourage road safety.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has a response to the uptick of fatal and serious injury crashes on their roads: a new safety campaign that piggy-backs on the popularity of the Pokémon Go game and is timed to coincide with back-to-school season.

It’s called Safétymon Go and it comes with the tagline: “Safety is nothing to poké fun at!”
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East Portland advocates say they won’t take no for an answer on Powell bikeway

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 28th, 2016 at 4:09 pm

outer powell street view

SE Powell near 125th. The state’s current plan is to add sidewalks and a center turn lane but potentially no vertical separation between bike and car traffic.
(Image: Google Street View)

East Portland’s most prominent advocacy group is unanimously opposed to the state’s current plan for outer Powell Boulevard, its top staffer said Thursday.

“Every one of our transportation advocates — from pedestrian to bicycle to transit to overall transportation — was in disagreement with their decision and they want a separated bike lane on Powell,” said Lore Wintergreen, advocate for the East Portland Action Plan.

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Imagining an inner Powell that would actually solve the street’s problems

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 26th, 2016 at 2:46 pm

powell vision

When more people use cars on a street, it becomes less and less efficient. When more people use mass transit, it becomes more and more efficient.
(Image: Nick Falbo)

The City of Portland and the State of Oregon both say they want to free more of their constituents from traffic congestion and to reduce planet-killing pollution.

There’s no mystery at all about what this would look like on inner Powell Boulevard. Everyone with some measure of power who has considered the issue knows the answer. But for some reason, the millions of public dollars spent talking about that possible answer have never resulted in a street-level picture of it.

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ODOT’s new Columbia Gorge Express bus has already carried thousands of riders

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 14th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

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“There was a really great energy in the bus,” our contributor Kate Laudermilk wrote about her trip. “I overheard a lot of conversations between complete strangers.”
(Photo: Kiel Johnson)

Three weekends in, the new bus line that offers $5 round trips between Gateway Transit Center, Rooster Rock State Park and Multnomah Falls is going gangbusters.

The buses, subsidized in part by the Oregon Department of Transportation, offer 12 departures a day from Friday to Sunday and each one has a rack that carries up to three bicycles.

Conceived as a way to cut congestion on Interstate 84 and take pressure off parking space in the Gorge, the buses carried more than 4,600 rides during their four-day launch weekend, including Memorial Day. Last weekend, the buses carried 1,477 rides.

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Should the I-205 path be named after onetime Portlander Woody Guthrie?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 9th, 2016 at 4:11 pm

I-205 Path Ride - Pedalpalooza-45

The not-so-memorably named I-205 Multi-use Path.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

There’s an intriguing idea at the bottom of The Oregonian’s nicely written piece today about folksinger Woody Guthrie’s ties to Portland.

The article (which is actually the last from former transportation reporter Joseph Rose, who’s headed to a job on the East Coast) focuses on the 30 intensely creative days the Oklahoma-born folksinger spent in a 400-square-foot apartment in Lents in spring 1941. It’s two blocks from the trail, and still available for rent today.

Guthrie was visiting for a one-month gig with the Bonneville Power Authority, which paid him $266.66 to write 26 songs promoting hydroelectric power on the Columbia. They turned out to include some of his enduring classics about the people who helped win World War II by industrializing the West Coast: “Roll On, Columbia,” “Grand Coulee Dam,” “Oregon Trail” and “Pastures of Plenty.”

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UPDATED – ODOT says bikers, walkers, people with disabilities are “problem children” in work zones

Avatar by on December 29th, 2015 at 2:07 pm

odot-workzoneslide

Slide from a presentation given by ODOT’s Traffic Plans Unit at a safety conference earlier this year.

For years now transportation advocates have been battling the tides of the Oregon Department of Transportation. It’s an agency — like all state highway agencies — that was born and raised in the automobile era yet now operates in an era where many people want to walk and bike and use our roads without a car. While there have been glimmers of reform, recent decisions have made it clear that the real changes many of us hope for are still a ways off.
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ODOT campaign says it loud and proud: ‘Every Intersection is a Crosswalk’

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 11th, 2015 at 10:07 am

Screenshot 2015-09-11 at 8.23.21 AM

(Photo: Peter Koonce via ODOT)

Americans have become sadly accustomed to so-called “safety” campaigns that scold people for being insufficiently cautious while obeying the law.

A more sensible approach, of course, would be to help everyone understand what the law is and (if you have to scold anyone) stick to scolding people who actually break it. That’s why this new campaign from the Oregon Department of Transportation is such great news.

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ODOT says new signals with left turn arrows coming to SE Powell next week

Avatar by on May 29th, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Protest on SE Powell-17.jpg

They heard you.
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland_

As hundreds of people take to the streets in an expression of frustration about unsafe biking conditions in Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation has just announced plans to install new left turn arrows at SE Powell and 26th Avenue — an intersection where two people have sustained serious injuries in collisions this month.

This announcement comes as a surprise and is very likely a response to the collision that happened at the intersection today and the resulting public pressure that has come from it. ODOT rep Shelli Romero told me back on May 11th at the protest event at Powell and 26th that they want to “redo this signal” but no one expected such a quick timeline.[Read more…]

ODOT is building its first complete wishlist of biking and walking projects

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 19th, 2015 at 3:34 pm

east 82nd

82nd Avenue: a priority, but how high?
(Photo: Elly Blue)

As Oregon creates its first-ever comprehensive biking and walking wishlist, it’s run into a hard question: how should it rank the importance of the many projects on its list?

The question comes three years after a round of ODOT’s federal grant applications for Portland-area biking and walking projects came up completely empty. As the next federal grant deadline approaches, ODOT is hoping that by creating a more sophisticated system to choose its top projects — a complete sidewalk along 82nd Avenue, maybe, or a crosswalk beacon on North Lombard street — it won’t miss out on the next round of federal grants.

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