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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Director's Biography


Leah has dedicated her career to public service, primarily in urban areas. After spending a few years in her home state of New Mexico working for the legislature, she relocated to Washington, D.C. where she worked closely with Mayor Anthony Williams in the dramatic turnaround of the nation’s Capitol. Leah’s formal training in finance and public administration were crucial in ensuring the District’s successful exit from the Control Board. She served in several Departments crafting balanced budgets, creating performance metrics and instilling accountability in public service delivery. As part of the turnaround of the government, a State Department of Transportation was created and Leah was brought in to find dedicated sources of revenue. She worked closely with the Director, the Mayor and City Council to ensure the long term financial stability of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). During this time Leah discovered transportation was her calling. The intersection of land use, health, and equity solidified her career path. Her accomplishments at DDOT include securing the City’s first federal GARVEE bond for its largest-ever construction project – the $500 million 11th Street Bridges Project. The federal bonds saved local taxpayers millions of dollars and facilitated two replacement bridges.

In 2011, Leah relocated to Chicago where she was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as Managing Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation. In Chicago, Treat helped the City secure a $99 million TIFIA loan to expand the Chicago Riverwalk, a cornerstone of the community’s downtown revitalization efforts. She also helped install the City’s first protected bikeway network and launch its bike share program that began with 300 stations and 3,000 bikes.

In 2013, Leah was appointed Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) by City Commissioner Steve Novick after a nation-wide search. The Bureau has more than 800 employees, a combined operating and capital budget of roughly $500 million and manages more than $10 billion in public assets. Since taking the helm at PBOT Leah has secured a $10 million sponsorship from Nike to launch Portland’s long-awaited bikeshare system. The 1,000 system will be the smartest and greenest in the Country at its launch in July 2016. She also crafted a Vision Zero policy that was unanimously adopted by City Council and secured state legislation to allow fixed speed cameras on Portland’s high crash corridors. And, under her leadership, Portland has become the first City in the Country to adopt design standards requiring cycle tracks in new developments.

Treat grew up in New Mexico and completed her higher education at the University of New Mexico. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Professional Writing and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. She also earned a Master of Public Administration from the University, with Phi Alpha Alpha honors. Treat holds a black belt in Lean Six Sigma. She and her husband Charles have four children, two dogs, and spend their free time exploring the great state of Oregon. 

(Photography by Felicity J. Mackay/Portland Bureau of Transportation)