The Oregon Department of Transportation Unveils Three Finalists to Replace Its Longtime Director

The three are vying to lead an agency flush with cash as a mammoth 2017 transportation bill floods the system.

Portland highway (ODOT)

The Oregon Department of Transportation late this afternoon named three finalists to replace longtime director Matthew Garrett, who stepped down earlier this year after 13 years atop the agency.

The agency has even more than its usual long list of projects, as lawmakers in 2017 passed a $5.3 billion transportation spending bill. Among the biggest  projects the new director will have to grapple with is the proposed $500 million expansion of I-5 at the Rose Quarter.

Critics of that expansion, who include transit, bike and pedestrian advocates—as well as Portland Public Schools, which owns an adjacent school and Albina Vision, which seeks to reclaim historic inner Eastside neighborhoods from the freeway-dominated urban wasteland that they became—are hoping for a more progressive ODOT.

Here are the three finalists:

Randell Iwasaki, current the director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority in the Bay Area, and before that, director of CalTrans, the ODOT equivalent under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Victoria Sheehan, currently the director of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and formerly a top official at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Kris Strickler, currently the head of ODOT's highway division. Strickler moved across the Columbia River last year from WASHDOT, where he held a variety of positions, including serving as director of the ill-fated Columbia River Crossing Project.

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