Transportation and Infrastructure

As a young mother walking my children through my east Portland neighborhood, I often felt unsafe. Sidewalks were few and far between, and I didn’t feel comfortable walking on the side of busy roads. The few bike lanes we had were more often used by people in motorized wheelchairs trying to navigate their way through this broad swath of the city that lacks adequate sidewalks. The absence of safe sidewalks and transportation options was a driving force behind my decision to run for public office and why I’ve fought to represent the county on transportation issues.

I believe everyone should have access to safe walking conditions where they live, work and play. Sadly, this is still not the case for many Multnomah County residents, especially those living east of 82nd Ave. Last year, Portland saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths in a single year since 1987. This is unacceptable. But I have the knowledge and leadership experience to respond to this crisis with urgency and address our other transportation issues. 

Throughout my career, I’ve worked to reshape our transportation system into one that prioritizes climate resilience, affordable and reliable public transit, investment decisions centered in equity, and safe options for those walking or rolling.

In those efforts I’ve built a strong record of accomplishments, including the following highlights: 

  • In 2014, I fought successfully for $1.8 million in funding for 18 crossing beacons on some of the most dangerous intersections in east Portland.
  • In 2015, as a state legislator, I carried the Clean Fuels legislation on the House floor, which reduces the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in Oregon. 
  • Also in 2015, I advocated for and voted to fund vital safety improvements on outer Powell Blvd., and the eventual jurisdictional transfer of the road from the State of Oregon to the City of Portland. 
  • In 2017, I advocated for HB 2017, the statewide transportation measure, which included congestion pricing authority for the metro region and additional funding for transit. 
  • I was honored to accept a Weston Award from Oregon Walks, our state’s pedestrian safety advocacy organization in 2017, for championing safety improvements along Outer Powell and Division streets, two of our region’s high crash corridors.
  • As a member of TriMet’s transit advisory committee, I strongly supported expanding transit services and frequency to underserved areas using an equity lens. The committee approved these investments.
  • In 2018, I led a successful effort to put community pressure on TriMet to fully electrify their bus fleet. These  efforts led to TriMet committing to a timeline for its conversion; starting last year, TriMet is exclusively purchasing zero emissions vehicles.
  • In 2019, as co-chair of the Metro Transportation Funding task force, I pushed for the inclusion of an expanded Youth Pass program, to provide free transit for youth to encourage transit use and foster a new generation of riders.
  • In 2020, I testified in front of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) in support of additional funding for projects that reduce climate emissions, increase safety, and decrease transportation inequities.
  • In 2021, I advocated for the state legislature to dedicate funding for safety improvements on 82nd Ave. and the eventual jurisdictional transfer of 82nd Ave. to PBOT.
  • Also in 2021, I fought for a more racially equitable and community-focused plan for the Rose Quarter project - one that will better stitch back the lower Albina neighborhood and build a more walkable, accessible, connected, safe area.
  • Currently, I co-chair the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project, which aims to build a seismically resilient crossing over the Willamette River, a project critical to the recovery and rebuilding of our region after the inevitable “Big One” hits. Having the ability to get to those injured, clear rubble, distribute emergency supplies, and immediately begin to recover is essential for saving lives and bringing our communities through safely. 

As County chair, I will bring the same values, work ethic, commitment to partnership, and leadership to addressing transportation issues in our region, continuing to work closely with jurisdictional partners and in coalition with frontline communities to ensure those most affected are at the table and at the center of our decisions. 

I will build upon our current efforts to examine traffic fatalities using both a public health and racial equity lens so that our communities are safer for everyone who lives in them. 

I will make use of the powerful, local authority cities and counties have to set speed limits on local roadways in an effort to save lives. Speed kills, and reducing speeds on roads throughout our region will keep our neighborhoods and families front-and-center in the decisions we make as a community.  

I will push for the purchase of speed cameras to be deployed throughout Multnomah County to reduce speeding in east county, Corbett, and on Sauvie Island. I will also advocate for legislation that allows non-police officers to process speed camera violations.  

I will continue to push for increased funding for safety, climate mitigation, and alternative transportation options to the OTC and the state legislature and work with TriMet and local businesses on increasing revenues to pay for additional transit options. I’ll continue to push for robust regional congestion pricing. 

I will increase investments in our Safe Routes to School program in order to further build out important safety infrastructure that helps young people and families get to school safely in east County and other high-risk areas. 

I will fight for the inclusion of Youth Pass in any future regional transportation measure. This will not only improve ridership and help usher in a new generation of transit riders, it will also enable young people to have greater access to employment and recreation opportunities. 

And I will work in coalition to make sure we build the seismically resilient Burnside Bridge, ensuring that it connects to the East Bank Esplanade to optimize multimodal accessibility and includes a Rose Lane to maintain reliability on the lines that cross it. 

I am proud of the ways I’ve been able to elevate the County’s role in transportation discussions, with a focus on improving safety, expanding transit and multimodal transportation options, reducing carbon emissions, and enhancing reliability in our region’s most underserved areas. These will remain the primary goals and the priorities I will continue to prioritize and fight for as your Chair.