Regardless of protests, Senator Lee Baer sailed by OTC nomination assembly

Senator Lee Baer (backside proper) on the Digital Guidelines Committee assembly on Wednesday. Committee Chairman Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego) is within the prime left and Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukee) is within the backside left.

“I am involved in regards to the roads for Oregon’s economic system… I prefer to say that Oregon’s economic system runs on wheels and desires one thing to get these wheels rolling.”

-Lee Baer

Yesterday afternoon, the Oregon Senate Interim Committee heard from greater than 60 candidates for Governor Kate Brown’s numerous state boards and commissions on guidelines and govt appointments. Amongst these nominees was outgoing state Senator Lee Baer, ​​whom Brown has nominated for one in all 5 locations on the Oregon Transportation Fee, to the chagrin of many involved Oregonians.

The OTC is a strong physique that oversees the Oregon Division of Transportation and their $5 billion funds.

Some leaders of main transportation and environmental teams see Bayer’s appointment as a step within the incorrect route, with some opponents saying that Bayer’s appointment “doubling down on the previous” reasonably than “making extra inclusive, consultant transportation choices” sooner or later. Will do ,

“In these divisive instances, it’s crucial that we proceed to help and rejoice leaders like Senator Baer.”

–Andrew Hone, Portland Enterprise Alliance

Bayer will exchange Alando Simpson, a a lot youthful, black member of the fee. On the Portland Mercury yesterday, Bayer dismissed these considerations. “Transportation is transportation,” Bayer informed Mercury. He additionally mentioned that opposition to the I-5 Rose Quarter freeway growth is “surprising” and “he mentioned he isn’t a ‘full believer’ within the pushed demand.”

Regardless of this surge of opposition, not one of the senators on the Guidelines Committee expressed concern about Beyer’s appointment, and nobody spoke out in opposition to him through the assembly’s public remark interval. After Bayer had an opportunity to introduce himself to the committee, he proceeded along with his nomination as normal process.

One group confirmed help in response to group backlash over Bayer’s nomination: the Portland Enterprise Alliance (a corporation activists have thought of one in all Portland’s ‘local weather villains’). President and CEO Andrew Hone submitted a letter of help for Bayer’s nomination, stating that the senator is “in all probability essentially the most ready Oregonian to serve on the OTC”, having “confirmed to have a deep information of the transportation wants of all the state.” and can collaborate with our companions and stakeholders to advance the balanced transportation options we’ll want within the twenty first century.”

“Senator Baer has been unquestionably one in all Oregon’s handiest leaders, advancing multi-modal transportation infrastructure, and modernizing coverage and funding proposals in Oregon. He has helped broaden transportation entry, help the motion of products and extra.” , has labored efficiently to search out the proper stability between sustaining our infrastructure and lowering carbon emissions,” Hone writes. “In these divisive instances, it’s crucial that we help and rejoice leaders like Senator Baer. Keep.”

Advocates say Bayer’s “stability” between transportation targets has been closely weighted towards driving-focused infrastructure. Throughout his time within the Oregon Senate, Beyer supported tasks such because the Interstate Bridge Alternative Program plan to increase I-5 from Portland to Vancouver and its failed predecessor, the Columbia River Crossing. He additionally rejected a invoice to extend state funding for biking and strolling infrastructure.

Talking at yesterday’s guidelines committee assembly, Bayer addressed group fears that he’s “solely involved in regards to the roads”, including that the declare shouldn’t be true.

“I’ll draw public consideration to what we did in 2017,” Baer mentioned, referring to the Transportation Legislature Home Invoice 2017. Bayer mentioned the invoice included “the biggest infusion within the state’s historical past in increasing transit”, a “concrete dedication” to safer routes for faculties infrastructure, and “devoted funding for off-road cycle paths.”

Though HB 2017 was a landmark transportation invoice in Oregon that supplied unprecedented quantities of funding for public transportation and lively transportation infrastructure (a lot much less usually), it was extremely centered on freeway growth and freeway tasks.

In his remarks (learn them in full beneath), Baer mentioned he thinks roads are necessary to the state’s economic system.

“One level I might say – I’m involved in regards to the roads and I’m involved in regards to the roads for the economic system of Oregon. Oregon is an exporting state. Lots of the merchandise that we use and discover in our shops, a See you on the truck,” he mentioned. “I prefer to say that Oregon’s economic system runs on wheels and desires one thing to get these wheels rolling.”

Bayer is Governor Brown’s second OTC choose since November 2021 that doesn’t meet the calls for of Dawn PDX and the Youth vs ODOT motion. The governor additionally didn’t heed the calls for of greater than thirty organizations throughout the state, who requested him to place a keep on the choice.

That push was led by Sarah Inarone, govt director of The Road Belief, who posted my response on twitter this morning, “Governor Brown’s dismissal of considerations from outdoors 30+ main advocacy organizations and coalitions on this matter is actually disappointing,” she wrote. “If she’s not listening to us, who’s she listening to?”

Beneath are Bayer’s full feedback to the committee:


Supply hyperlink

Techy Exchange

Techy Exchange