Throughout 2013, Oregon is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Oregon Department of Transportation, which began life as the “State Highway Department” in 1913. Since the beginning, Oregonians have been leaders in transportation, creating award-winning bicycle and pedestrian programs, finishing cross-state highways ahead of others and, in its inaugurating effort: “Getting Oregon out of the mud.”
We invite you to learn more about the history of transportation in Oregon at this site and as we continually update it. We are also inviting those who have taken part in this history, know a story about Oregon transportation, or have other insight into the unique and innovative approaches Oregon is known for, to share that information with us and others by submitting a story. Of course, we all already know about our not-so-successful attempt to rid the Oregon Coast of a dead whale in the early 70s.
There are many accomplishments from the past century, and looking into the future, that we can be proud of supporting:
- Reaching new levels of safety on our roads
- Supporting a community-focused, multimodal approach to the transportation system
- Making unique advances in the industry that are continually used to set the high standard
- Creating leading-edge programs and innovations such as:
- Gas tax: Oregon was the first state to implement a gas tax to pay for roads (1919); the federal government - and everyone else! - followed our lead.
- Cathodic protection: Our engineers use this innovative apprpoach on our coastal bridges to extend their lives, and others have learned from us.
- Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure: Oregon was unique in mandating a percentage of highway fund dollars be set aside to for mulit-use paths and bikeways (1971).
- Technology: ODOT was the first state agency to set up a computer system (1957).
- Solar highway: We developed the first solar highway, where solar arrays are placed on right of way to generate clean, renewable energy (2008).
- Spencer Creek Bridge: We returned the elegance and efficiency of Conde McCullough’s arch design to modern bridge specifications.
- Transportation Building remodel: We preserved an historic facility while updating it with modern, energy efficient systems, using a sustainable approach that included local/regional materials and businesses; built in 1951, it is now seismically retrofitted, safer and healthier for residents and visitors (2012).
- The list goes on!
By celebrating ODOT’s first 100 years, we are seeking ways to further contribute to our mission of providing a safe, efficient transportation system that supports economic opportunity and livable communities for Oregonians.
Thank you for your support!