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Remembering Gail Achterman

Friends, colleagues, and Oregonians were saddened by the passing of former Commission Chair Gail Achterman in January. Gail died just five months after she reluctantly gave up serving on the commission. She had been a member of the Oregon Transportation Commission since 2000, and the influence she had on transportation, land use, and environmental policy, and economic development will last far beyond her years of service.

  Gail was passionate about thinking of transportation as a whole system that integrates all modes of transportation to improve quality of life in Oregon. As the principal author of the long-term Oregon Transportation Plan, she brought forward conversations about sustainability, community coordination and optimizing our transportation infrastructure, based on a future with limited funding. She presided over the state’s $3 billion Oregon Transportation Investment Acts, shoring up the state’s bridges and key highway corridors, as well as the multimodal investment program, ConnectOregon and the investments from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Her leadership was evident everywhere at ODOT, from offering a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to employees working difficult winter storms to cutting the ribbon at the nation’s first solar highway — Gail rarely declined an offer to brag about the department.
Gail’s vision for a safe, integrated, balanced transportation system permeates every ODOT activity. She truly made a difference.
Gail’s memory has been honored by state and federal officials.  The Oregon Legislature passed SCR 7 to honor the many contributions Gail made to Oregon. Read ODOT Director Matt Garrett's testimony on the resolution.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer spoke about Gail on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives shortly after her passing.
Video courtesy of C-SPAN. To play the video, download it to your desktop and use a media player to view it.