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Meet the Oregon Transportation Commission: Tammy Baney
04/19/2012
 
With three new members joining the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) since last summer, ODOT is going to profile a member of the Commission in each of its next several Stakeholder Updates.  We start with a profile of Tammy Baney, a Deschutes County Commission who joined the Transportation Commission in the summer of 2011.
 
OTC Commissioner Tammy Baney grew up in a world of community service, but that’s not what her parents called it. Back then, it was just neighbors helping neighbors. Her parents were an integral part of the central Oregon community.
 
“Dad was the guy you called, when you needed help,” Baney said. “My folks always did that and I was raised to be available and to give to the community.” 
 
Baney’s dedication to public service remains true today. After graduating from high school in 1989, Baney attended Central Oregon Community College. The business world called her for a time. Early in her professional life, real estate offered a challenge, but by 2004 she had changed her vocation to public service.

 “I love my community,” Baney said, quickly adding, “I love the state and I love to serve.”  
 
Baney has been a foster parent since 1995, eventually parenting three foster children while raising one biological child. Her volunteer work includes serving as a local Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children; Habitat for Humanity volunteer; founding member of the Family Access Network of Central Oregon; and chair of the Deschutes County Commission on Children and Families. And that’s just a partial list.
 
In 2006, Baney was elected to the Deschutes County Commission, and in 2011 she responded to the call from Governor John Kitzhaber to join the Oregon Transportation Commission. She’s also the current president of the Association of Oregon Counties.
   
Her schedule is full. For example, when many government employees had the day off on President’s Day, Baney was at the State Capitol advocating for one of her many projects.
 
She readily acknowledges that she doesn’t bring a classic “transportation” background to the OTC, but she believes that’s actually a strength.
 
“My job is to be a conduit for local voices,” she said.
 
Looking at it through the eyes of a community advocate, Baney sees Governor Kitzhaber’s Healthy Communities initiative as including a transportation element.  Success to her is seeing a crosswalk painted or a curb built in a rural community, both of which can have a major positive effect on traffic safety.
 
She also knows that she has to blend rural needs with urban demands, including the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project.
 
“Yes, the CRC is important to the state,” Baney said. “There are other parts of the state that are going to need transportation projects and those will also make a big impact on the local community.”
 
Balancing the transportation needs of rural and urban areas has always been a challenge in Oregon, with its unique geography, sparse high country, seasonally-dependent coastal communities and population centers concentrated on the west side. Baney knows meeting all those needs can be tough, but she also knows she’s got the experience in public service to help achieve that fine balance.