Oregon Transportation Commission offers Kris Strickler job as next ODOT Director

Kris Strickler

“This move signals more of the failed status quo by the OTC and is a huge
disappointment.”
— The Street Trust

The Oregon Transportation Commission has offered the job of leading the Oregon Department of Transportation to someone who already works there: Kris Strickler.

Strickler is currently ODOT’s Highway Division Manager and — if he accepts the offer and is ultimately approved by the Oregon Senate — he’ll oversee an agency with a $3.8 billion budget and 4,500 employees.

The non-profit Street Trust, one of several organizations who was watching this appointment closely and was part of a stakeholder group that heard presentations from Strickler and two other final candidates, published a letter today (PDF) saying the OTC’s choice of Stricker, “signals more of the failed status quo… and is a huge disappointment.” They said Oregon needs to dramatically alter its approach to transportation in light of the safety, mobility, and environmental challenges we face. “There is nothing in Strickler’s experience that suggests he is prepared to lead this shift,” states their letter. “He offered virtually no substance in his presentation to a group of stakeholders who got to meet with three to candidates for the job.”

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Strickler’s recent work experience includes being deputy director of the Columbia River Crossing project for the Washington Department of Transportation. That project burned through nearly $200 million in planning and failed spectacularly in 2014. Learn more about Strickler’s career via his resume (PDF, pasted below).

strickler-resume

In a statement this afternoon, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said, “Kris has made a big impact on ODOT in his short tenure at the agency. He has driven the agency’s vision for how to address the complex mobility needs of our region and brings strong interstate partnerships to bear. He’s the right person to help ODOT continue its transformation, and I am looking forward to his continued and expanded leadership.”

For his part, Strickler said he plans to accept the offer and looks forward to implementing the $5.3 billion transportation spending package passed by the legislature in 2017. “I’m eager to lead the agency in this dramatic time of growth in our state and to work to modernize our transportation network, diversify the department’s workforce, and bring innovative solutions to achieve Oregon’s transportation, environmental and economic goals,” he said.

ODOT released this background video about Strickler today…

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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