You have until Thursday to comment on ODOT Director job description

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…

Read more

ODOT tolling plan off to feds with support from Oregon Transportation Commission

On the left, the cover of ODOT’s 48-page application to the FHWA. On the right are the proposed tolling locations.

Before the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) can begin any kind of congestion pricing on existing freeways, they must first submit a proposal to the Federal Highway Administration. At their monthly meeting in Salem today, ODOT’s governing body voted 5-0 in favor of that 48-page plan, marking a major step in the future of tolling in the Portland region.

Read more

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

OTC meeting in Salem-1.jpg

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.

Read more

New member of Oregon Transportation Commission is “avid cyclist”

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Sean O'Hollaren Photo_253

Sean O’Hollaren
(Photo: ODOT)

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has successfully added her first member to Oregon Transportation Commission and it appears like he’s got at least some some cycling experience.

Sean O’Hollaren, a former senior VP at Nike, fills a spot on the five-member committee that was left vacant when former Governor Kitzhaber fired Catherine Mater.

The OTC is the most powerful transportation body in the state. They approve funding, set ODOT policy, and “guide the planning development, and management” of our transportation network. There are five members, each representing a different region of the state.

The committee’s agenda items currently include the statewide transportation funding plan, a major update to the ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian plan, federal TIGER grant funding, and more.

Read more

Senate names two new members of Oregon Transportation Commission

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Alando Simpson (L) and Catherine Mater — your newest members of the Oregon Transportation Commission.
(Photos courtesy Simpson and Mater)

Last week the Oregon Senate confirmed two new members to the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC): Catherine Mater, a civil engineer and business owner from Corvallis; and Alando Simpson, owner of City of Roses Disposal & Recycling in Portland. Simpson is also the first African-American on the commission since it was formed in 1913.

Read more

ODOT’s plans to change budget process ruffles local feathers

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and their policy-making arm the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) have proposed sweeping changes to how the state allocates transportation dollars and who gets to decide how those dollars are spent. The proposals come with a short timeline and advocates and elected officials in the region want several key changes before they’re adopted next month.

Saying that the changes are necessary because of dwindling revenues and a need to fund, “the most effective projects based on community and state values, rather than those that fit best into prescribed programs,” ODOT and the OTC are changing how the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is managed. The STIP is a document that covers four years of capital projects. The 2015-2018 STIP, which ODOT is looking to apply changes to, will include a total of $960 million in projects across the state.

From what I’ve learned so far, there are two major parts to this story. The first is how bicycling will be impacted by the funding changes; and the second is who the ODOT/OTC will appoint to the advisory bodies that decide which projects get on the funding list.

Read more

Remembering Gail Achterman

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Gail Achterman speaking at the Oregon Bike Summit in April 2008. She died Saturday afternoon.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Gail Achterman, known and respected by many for her role in setting Oregon transportation policy, died this afternoon after a bout with pancreatic cancer. She was 62 years old.

Read more

Chair of Oregon Transportation Commission resigns due to health reasons

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Oregon Bike Summit-20.jpg

Achterman speaking at the
2008 Oregon Bike Summit.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Gail Achterman is stepping down from her role as Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission due to health reasons.

The announcement came via email from Director of ODOT Matt Garrett yesterday, who said Achterman, “has significant health issues that require her full attention and energies.” According to a website where Achterman has been sharing updates about her condition, she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Here’s more from Garrett:

Read more

Legislature appoints two new members to Oregon Transportation Commission

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Tammy Baney

The Oregon Transportation Commission, an influential group appointed by the Governor to establish state transportation policy, will welcome two new members at the end of this month.

Legislators in Salem voted yesterday to approve the nominations of Mark Frohnmayer and Tammy Baney.

Frohnmayer is the son of former University of Oregon President David Frohnmayer. The younger Frohnmayer is a former video game programmer and entrepreneur who is now the president of Eugene-based electric vehicle (EV) company Arcimoto. Frohnmayer is also on the board of Drive Oregon, an EV initiative that is partially funded by the State of Oregon.

Read more

It’s official, Portland nabs nearly $3 million for biking/walking projects

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The great news we reported last month is now official: The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) announced yesterday that they’ve received $2.96 million from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for two projects that will vastly improve biking and walking conditions in North and East Portland.

The Portland projects are two out of 27 that the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) has decided to fund from a $20 million pot of federal “flexible funds” set aside specifically for non-highway projects. PBOT has received $2,090,372 for the Going to the River project and $870,000 for a project on SE 122nd Avenue.

Read more

Follow-up: TriMet to get $4.5 million in ODOT Flex Funds

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Earlier this month, TriMet — in a last-ditch effort to fill the local funding gap in their $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project — put in a request for a 10-year, $19 million funding commitment from the State of Oregon.

Artist rendering of Portland-Milwaukie light rail line.

The request raised serious concerns with transportation officials around the state for a variety of reasons. Some were concerned that TriMet was muscling into one of the very rare dedicated funding sources available to non-highway projects anywhere in the state (These non-highway “Flexible Funds” are a relatively small pot of money totaling about $20 million) and that the multi-year commitment would unfairly compromise the availability of funds for other projects.

Read more