June 18, 2013 | Wweek.com-- The Portland Bureau of Transportation has hired a new director: Leah Treat, the chief of staff in Chicago's transportation department. City Commissioner Steve Novick announced Treat's hiring this morning in an email to Portland transportation bureau staff.
Treat, 42, served as chief of staff to Chicago transportation commissioner Gabe Klein starting in 2010. Before that, she was the finance manager for Washington, D.C.'s transportation department. She's also a mother of four.
Treat's Twitter feed shows her to be an outspoken bicycle advocate and a proponent of new funding models for transportation. (A Treat tweet from this morning declares, "The gas tax model is indeed broken.")
That's crucial to the direction of a city department that's been castigated in two city audits this spring, and continues to be buffeted with media controversies over bicycle spending.
UPDATE, 10:39 am: Treat tells reporters in a conference call that she's interested in increasing the percentage of trips taken in Portland on bicycle.
"I get around on a bike," Treat says. "We're working hard [in Chicago] to make the roads safe for them. I definitely will be interested in increasing biking's mode share in a way that's safe for everybody."
She won't yet discuss new funding mechanisms for the bureau—such as a street maintenance fee, which was floated last year.
"It's my experience if you don't test your ideas, and get support on the ground, you'll never succeed," Treat says.
During the call, Novick pointed out Treat's record following Klein from D.C. to Chicago as a financial expert.
"When you look at Leah's resume, you'll see a heck of a lot of financial background," Novick says. "It's an extra bonus to be able to steal someone out from Rahm Emanuel. Take that, Rahm-bo!"
But Treat was unaware during her interviews that Portland has READ FULL ARTICLE