Does Anybody Want to Be PBOT Director?

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has been chewing up directors lately.

Tom Miller, a protege of former Mayor Sam Adams, was undone by reports about the city's backlog of unpaved roads and media donnybrooks over bicycle projects. Mayor Charlie Hales fired him and told interim Toby Widmer to find money for road paving—but when Widmer cut a sidewalk project on Southeast 136th Avenue, he was caught in a furor after a 5-year-old girl was killed by a car as she crossed that road.

Yesterday, the city posted its notice that it is starting Hales' promised national search for the next PBOT director.

The job posting sticks to the positive.

"Big city excitement and small town charm make Portland, Oregon, a favorite destination in the West," it begins. "Known as the 'City of Roses,' Portland is situated approximately 70 miles from the Pacific Ocean in a magnificent setting along the sparkling waters of the Columbia and Willamette rivers."

But the posting soon gets down to business. The PBOT director will make $129,834 to $186,056, and will be expected to carry out Hales' priorities: improving transportation safety and maintaining transportation assets. (This morning, Hales added another item to the list: reducing drunken driving deaths.)

The job description also makes clear the most crucial skill for a Portland transportation chief:

"Strong political acumen, tact and diplomacy in dealing with complex, sensitive and confidential issues regarding multiple and conflicting agendas and positions."

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