Lynn Peterson named as Governor’s transportation policy advisor

Lynn Peterson

Big news from Salem today: Governor John Kitzhaber has announced that Clackamas County Commissioner Lynn Peterson will be his new ‘Sustainable Communities and Transportation Policy Advisor’ (a new position). Peterson was previously rumored as a candidate for ODOT Director, but Kitzhaber recently ended that speculation when he announced just last week that Matt Garrett would remain in that position.

As we reported last month, Peterson was primed for a spot in Kitzhaber’s office. She endorsed Kitzhaber in 2010 and she told us that if offered the ODOT job, she’d “be interested.” While she won’t lead ODOT, Peterson might have found a position that suits her even better.

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Gresham, Astoria, and Eugene to split $970,000 from ODOT’s Urban Trail Fund

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Design drawing of Springwater Trail Spur
in Gresham. UTF-funded portion is in
green. Blue lines are Powell Blvd
(top) and Springwater Trail (bottom).

The Oregon Department of Transportation is likely to confirm Wednesday the first three projects to be funded through their new Urban Trail Fund (UTF) program. The UTF was established as part of the Jobs and Transportation Act (HB 2001) that passed the state legislature in 2009. There were $970,000 dollars available in the fund this year.

The following three projects have been recommended for funding by the Oregon Transportation Commission, a governor-appointed body that advises ODOT:

$300,000 – Springwater Trail Spur (Gresham)
The grant will fund an informational trail kiosk and 250 linear feet of an off-street trail that will eventually connect E Powell Blvd with the Springwater Corridor Trail through Main City Park in Gresham (total trail is 900 feet). According to Gresham’s grant application, the trail will be 17-feet wide and will be constructed this fall.

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OBRA to debut High School cyclocross program this fall


Coming to high schools this fall.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) will launch a cyclocross development league and training program at high schools throughout the state this fall. OBRA, a non-profit with nearly 5,000 members across Oregon, has created a white paper on the new initiative that identifies cyclocross as “a great way to introduce young athletes to the sport of cycling.”

OBRA membership numbers show that cyclocross has been the fastest growing discipline every year since 2006, outpacing road, mountain and track racing. Kenji Sugahara, OBRA’s executive director, says the program’s first season will begin in September and they’ll plan to expand it next year. “We’re going in with the understanding that the first year will be small, but it’s a matter of getting a foothold and moving up from there.”

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Oregon slips to 5th in bike-friendly state rankings

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

… After they’re done dreaming about
WA, WI, ME and MN.

The League of American Bicyclists has released rankings for their Bicycle Friendly States program. Oregon earned the fifth spot this year, slipping from the fourth spot we’ve held the previous two years. For the third year in a row, Washington retained the top spot with Wisconsin coming in second.

Moving up to take fourth place away from Oregon this year was Minnesota — home to Minneapolis, the city that unseated Portland from the top spot in a recent list of bike friendly cities by Bicycling Magazine.

Here are the top five:

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Bike riding doctor Mel Kohn to lead Oregon Health Authority

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
U.S. Surgeon General rides in Portland-19.jpg

Dr. Kohn, speaking in support of Safe Routes
to School during a visit by the U.S.
Surgeon General in April 2008.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Dr. Mel Kohn has been named the new head of the Oregon Public Health Division, which is set to become part of the new Oregon Health Authority. Kohn had been serving as the acting public health director and state health officer since September 2008.

Kohn also happens to be a regular bike rider who has shown engagement and interest in encouraging the use of bicycles — especially through the Safe Routes to School program — for years.

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