OTREC Remembers Gail Achterman


Last week in Portland, family, friends, and colleagues gathered to remember one of Oregon’s most stalwart and effective public servants, Gail Achterman. Gail committed her life to furthering environmental and transportation issues to improve the quality of life in Oregon. Her commitment to improving and connecting transportation with land use and environmental policy was the reason she received the 2011 OTREC DeFazio Transportation Hall of Fame Award.

A fourth-generation Oregonian, Gail distinguished herself in law and natural-resource issues (as the Director of the Institute of Natural Resources at OSU) even before her involvement in transportation. As Chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, Gail provided policy guidance to move the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) toward a sustainable future. She has been instrumental in expanding the focus of ODOT beyond highways to include a complete multi-modal transport system.

Recognizing the importance of working smarter, not harder, Gail championed an aggressive program to advance Oregon’s sophisticated integrated models for transportation, land use and the economy. The program boosted efforts such as the GreenSTEP model to address greenhouse gas emission reductions, research into least-cost planning concepts for the transportation system and congestion-pricing pilot programs. With equal vigor, Gail has served as a spokeswoman for the benefits of transportation system management and intelligent transportation systems.

Thanks in part to Gail’s guidance on the commission, ODOT is a recognized national leader in development and application of integrated models at the state and MPO levels. These models facilitate policy discussions to guide development of transportation infrastructure and programs that complement local communities and encourage smart growth.

We will greatly miss Gail, but honor her legacy and help to futher her work in sustainable transportation. An Oregon State University campus memorial will be held at the LaSells Stewart Center Engineering and Construction Hall, located across from Reser Stadium, on Feb. 24, 2012 at 4 p.m. To read and hear more about Gail and her work, visit:

Share this: