Monthly News and Updates

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

We need to put Transportation funding front and center

If you attended WEA's March Policy Conference you had the opportunity to hear from our Region 1 ODOT Manager Rian Windsheimer on the funding challenges currently faced by our state transportation agency. In preparing for the conference, I had the opportunity to watch this short video which highlighted the critical need for identifying new funding sources to maintain and upgrade our critical infrastructure.

As we saw a pause, and then a full-stop, on the tolling program this past winter, we saw a political push back on a possible revenue source that - while not loved by all - was an attempt to address the funding gap. Regardless of where you stand on the roll-out, the policy or politics of tolling, make no mistake that the loss of that revenue will have real time effects on projects currently underway.

As we look ahead to the 2025 legislative session and the discussion of a new funding transportation funding package, the first one since 2017, we must reconcile the projects from the previous package that are incomplete against much needed maintenance and repair for our aging infrastructure across our state. In order to do this we, as a state, are faced with the reality of needing to find new revenue sources if we intend to fix the budget gap and right size our investments in our roads and bridges.

Now, I want to be as clear as I possibly can: I am not, nor would I ever pretend to be, an expert on transportation funding or revenue models. However, we are lucky here at WEA to have members who can bring their extraordinary expertise to the table. And so, in partnership with the Chair of our Transportation Committee, John Howorth of 3J Consulting, we are embarking on a several month exploration of transportation funding models and methods.

This work is made more urgent as the Joint Transportation Committee from our state legislature is headed out on a 'Road Tour' to talk with Oregonians, "about the structural challenges facing the statewide transportation system and discuss various remedies, including how to provide stable and sufficient funding of the Oregon Department of Transportation". (See article below with more information on the goals as well as the dates and locations.)

Whether you are a member of the Transportation Committee or not, if you bring specific expertise to this topic or represent a public agency or special district, please connect with me directly so we can figure out how best to engage you in this process. We would like the work coming out of this workgroup to be a collection of innovative thinking grounded in a business perspective.

Let's continue to use the WEA collaborative solution table to bring big thinking to an issue that effects all of us. And I encourage you to take the time to attend at least one of the Joint Committee on Transportation's events.

Let's get to work.


Upcoming WEA Events

Register for Mayors Forum.


The impact of the Sheetz decision on Land Use

The unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Sheetz v. County of El Dorado means changes are coming for development permits. The Court determined that regulatory takings authorized by legislative or administrative action are also subject to the same nexus and proportionality analyses as those applied to ad hoc regulatory takings. But the Court also left many questions about which regulatory takings can satisfy constitutional requirements. Four important issues will impact both developers and municipalities.


Join Jordan Ramis Land Use Attorneys Edward H. Trompke and Ezra L. Hammer who have dissected the opinions and will explain the impact this decision will have in the near and distant future as well as answer your questions.

DATE AND TIME: June 4, 2:00 PM


Register in advance for this webinar:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Questions? Contact Scott Wolff at Jordan Ramis: or 503-598-5575.

News & Notes

Congratulations to WEA Board Member, Jennifer Burrows

WEA Board Member Jennifer Burrows, RN, has been chosen to serve as the chief executive of Providence Oregon. Jennifer will be stepping into the role held by William Olson, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Jennifer has spent 32 years in health care, and she currently serves as the chief executive of Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. She has held various leadership positions, including her tenure as chief nursing officer for Providence Oregon.

"It is both an honor and a privilege to be asked to lead our Oregon ministry during this time of immense change in health care," says Jennifer Burrows, RN, chief executive, Providence Oregon. "I take on this accountability mindful of the heritage of the leaders who have come before me over the past 168 years, and the communities who entrust us with their care today and into the future."

Jennifer officially began her role in early May. 

Oregon Capital

Transportation Package Tour to Focus on Maintaining a Safe, Functional, Efficient System

Oregon's Joint Committee on Transportation announced its 12-stop Transportation Safety and Sustainability Outreach Tour to hear from Oregonians about how the Legislature can ensure Oregon has a safe, functional, and efficient multimodal transportation system now and for years to come.

Each stop will include opportunities to gather input from key stakeholders, including members of the public as well as local community leaders, elected officials, and business leaders.

Members of the joint committee will engage with local communities about the structural challenges facing the statewide transportation system and discuss various remedies, including how to provide stable and sufficient funding of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

"Safe, sustainable, multimodal transportation systems are of critical importance to local, regional, and even international travel and commerce between urban and rural communities," said Rep. Susan McLain (D - Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Cornelius), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “We’re working to ensure that all communities, all families, and all businesses are provided with choices that are safe, resilient, and sufficient to meet transportation needs.”

Perspectives and information gathered by the committee will be used by legislators to craft a transportation package in the 2025 legislative session that will allow ODOT to maintain critical infrastructure, complete major projects, and guarantee the safety of transportation systems across the state.

"We're talking about clearing snow off highways, filling potholes, making sure our bridges don't collapse, and reducing traffic jams," said Sen. Chris Gorsek (D - Troutdale), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. "Our transportation systems impact the lives of Oregonians in every corner of our state and they need to be safe and efficient for years to come."

All hearings will be open to the public and members of the press.

Tour locations and dates (venues to be announced later):

● Downtown Portland - Tuesday, June 4

● Tillamook - Tuesday, June 18

● Albany - Tuesday, July 16

● Eugene - Wednesday, July 17

● Coos Bay - Wednesday, August 7

● Medford - Thursday, August 8

● Ontario - Wednesday, August 28

● Hermiston - Thursday August 29

● Bend - Thursday, September 12

● The Dalles - Friday, September 13

● Happy Valley - Thursday, September 26

● Hillsboro - Friday, September 27

On May 6, House Speaker Julie Fahey, Senate President Rob Wagner, and Governor Tina Kotek sent a letter to the committee co-chairs and vice chairs affirming their support of the committee's plan while laying out their joint priorities: safety, maintenance and operations improvement, and completion of unfinished projects.

Columbia Corridor Association brings Industrial Symbiosis program to Portland

A new program being launched by a coalition of business and economic development organizations held its first informational meeting Tuesday, May 14th.The program is working to reduce industrial emissions using an opt-in profit-based model, rather than regulatory fine-based model.

While this program is new to Portland it is fully functioning in other parts of the world, including Denmark where a delegation of Oregonians visited last year. Representatives of the Danish project named the Kalundberg Symbiosis were on hand for today's event, as were representatives from the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The program pitches that a business can, "Transform your waste into profits, all on your own terms! No regulations, no mandates—just smart business moves that benefit both your bottom line and the environment. Picture this: instead of seeing waste as a costly burden, imagine them as valuable resources waiting to be tapped into."

According to an article from research fellows from the Nordregio Research Centre, "Industrial symbiosis can: Reduce raw material and waste disposal costs; generate new revenue from residues and by-products; divert waste from landfill and reduce carbon emissions; open up new business opportunities; strengthen [a companies'] environmental profile."

Have questions about Industrial Symbiosis and if its right for you and your company? Contact Corky Collier at (503)241-1888.

Housing Accountability Office included in recently signed legislation

When Governor Tina Kotek signed bipartisan legislation to address the state’s housing and homelessness crisis on May 6, in addition to the $376 million state investment to boost housing production throughout the state, it created the Housing Accountability and Production Office.

The Housing Accountability and Production Office (HAPO) will be run by the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). The office is intended to facilitate and support housing production by assisting local governments and housing developers in understanding and applying state housing laws related to land use and permitting. Additionally, the office will coordinate state agencies involved in housing development to overcome housing production barriers. This office must be operational by July 1, 2025.

In addition to the HAPO, the bill includes a policies and investments to boost production statewide, including:

  • Reducing regulatory and procedural barriers to housing production through a mix of limited duration and permanent measures;
  • Providing qualifying local governments a one-time option to add or exchange land to an Urban Growth Boundary through an expedited process to build affordable and market-rate housing; and
  • Allocating funding and loans to support housing focused infrastructure development, land acquisition for housing development, and low- and moderate-income housing development.

“DLCD is honored to play a part in making a tangible difference in Oregon communities,” said DLCD Director, Dr. Brenda Ortigoza Bateman, “We’re recruiting the team and setting up the systems right now to partner with cities, counties, and other state agencies in the advancement of housing production.

To learn more about the Housing Accountability and Production Office, visit the DLCD website at

Click to stay up to date on ODOT's Highway 217 Auxiliary Lane Project
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