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Oregon governors have had transportation advisers before. Lynn Peterson wants to be something different.

Peterson, an OTREC advisory board member and former Clackamas Board of County Commissioners chairwoman, joined Gov. John Kitzhaber’s administration in March as sustainable communities and transportation policy adviser.

“I’ve always been a transportation advocate,” Peterson said. “But we talked about the need to integrate transportation with housing and economic development and land use.

“By adding ‘sustainable communities’ to transportation adviser, we were basically saying, ‘Listen: as we move through the transportation discussion, we need to consider the health component, the housing component, the overlaps in other areas.’ “

Peterson brings a broad transportation policy background, having earned graduate degrees in both planning and engineering from Portland State University. She worked in transportation planning for both Metro and TriMet, as a transportation advocate for 1000 Friends of Oregon, and also served on the Lake Oswego City Council.

Peterson said she didn’t hesitate to step into a role that places her in the center of potentially contentious projects or between the...

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The Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium held the West’s first listening session Wednesday under the Sustainable Communities Partnership, the effort to get federal agencies working together on green transportation and housing projects. Regional administrators from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency met with local, regional and state leaders for open-ended discussions on building sustainable communities.

More than 150 people attended the daylong Oregon Community Dialogue at Willamette University  in Salem, organized by OTREC and facilitated by the National Policy Consensus Center. In one-on-one interviews, participants brainstormed the barriers to sustainable communities, the existing opportunities to work together and actions they could take to take to make their own communities more sustainable. They also discussed what they could accomplish if agencies did a better job of working together to pay for projects.

The discussions produced the following insights:

  • Barriers to sustainable communities include a lack of shared vision on results, a lack of integration and coordination, a lack of marketplace incentives and confusion over how to achieve the goals.
  • Federal agencies working better together would create opportunities for collaboration at all levels of government, give flexibility to use resources in new ways, allow for a better...
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The Regional and Division Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation are working with the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) to convene a one-day, statewide, community dialogue to discuss their joint Partnership for Sustainable Communities today (June 30, 2010) at Willamette University.

Attendees represent a balanced representation of subject (transportation, housing, environment), geography (statewide, regional, local), and sector (public, private, academic, NGO).

The purpose of the event is to “increase awareness and understanding of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities; to receive input from state, regional, and local participants about opportunities and needs to inform our efforts; and, to catalyze an enhanced level of participation throughout Oregon.” The meeting will include presentations by the Administrators and workshop discussions facilitated by the National Policy Consensus Center.

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Streetcar_people_alphabet National Geographic recently described Portland as the City that “…gets almost everything right; it’s friendly, sustainable, accessible, and maybe a model for America’s future” (Cover story, Dec. 2009). Portland has a shared vision of a livable city, articulated in many different ways. It is seen in neighborhood self-help projects, big municipal investments, enlightened developers that build infill projects consistent with city plans, and the highest recycling participation rate in the country.  Taken together Portland is a city that is environmentally responsible, and conscious of both street level and of global impact of doing things right.

 


Early History

Arguably, Portland’s first act of ‘building green’ was in 1892, when it built a reservoir network to protect and preserve the sole source of its drinking water, the pristine . Today, this 102-square mile conservation zone provides ample fresh water to a region of half million people

Fast forward almost 100 years and the same ethic motivated Portlanders to reject a Robert Moses-style highway plan...

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In the last of the livability seminar series, OTREC’s visiting scholars program welcomed Shawn Turner†from the Texas Transportation Institute.†Shawn’s research spans the gamut of intelligent transportation systems data to bicycle and pedestrian issues.† Most recently, Shawn participated in the International Scan on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility.† His presentation†compared his experiences on the†scan in Europe to those in China.† During his presentation, he posed three challenges to Oregon:

  • How does active transportation contribute to economic development?
  • What is the tipping point for behavior and behavioral change?
  • Can vanity play a role†in social acceptance?

His presentation was followed by a discussion with local agencies, faculty, students and partners along with a 10-mile tour of innovative bike infrastructure in Portland.† Thank goodness the weather held up!

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Rick Krochalis, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Region X Administrator, recently kicked off the Center for Transportation Seminar Series on January 8th with a presentation on the Regional Implications of the Federal Livability Initiative. The presentation touched on the federal interagency partnership in addition to FTA’s involvement in the effort. Smart growth and transit-oriented development are not new concepts.  With growing congestion, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, needs for maintaining a state of good repair on existing transportation systems in addition to a growing and aging and population in the United States; transit is playing a key role in helping address these issues.The seminar was followed with with a roundtable group discussion with TriMet and local partners; and meeting with faculty and students highlighting transit-related research. You can download the podcast or view the seminar if you missed the presentation.   Livability is also the theme for the winter transportation seminar series.

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