Rick Gustafson Retiring from Portland Streetcar

Rick Gustafson is retiring as executive director and chief operating officer of Portland Streetcar Inc.

Gustafson, 67, has overseen the nonprofit that runs the city's streetcar  for all 12 years of its operation.

"The job is bigger," he tells WW, "and I'm slower."

Gustafson started as Portland Streetcar Inc.'s chief operating officer in 2001 and assumed executive director duties in 2006.

He managed one of the first modern streetcar systems in the country, bringing new Pearl District development and national acclaim—as well as cost overruns and notoriously infrequent service.

He says he hopes to advise Portland Streetcar until the new transit bridge completes a full downtown streetcar loop in 2015.

Gustafson will remain a principal at urban development firm Shiels Oblitz Johnson. A 2007 WW story examined how the firm received at least $2.3 million in city consulting contracts while Gustafson ran the streetcar system.

Portland Streetcar Inc.'s board of directors will vote Wednesday to approve the hiring of a new executive director and chief operating officer.

"This is the opportunity to create a permanent and full-time director," Gustafson says. "After 12 years, we've decided this is probably going to continue."

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