Q Do you see changes in Metro's role?
A I don't see the agency's mission changing. It's planning for the future, managing facilities like the zoo, the theaters and and the regional parks. The mission will stay the same but will be conducted more effectively.
Q. Has Metro's 2040 Plan been a success?
A. It's been more successful here than similar projects in other parts of the country. It's still a mixed bag. But the revitalization of downtown Gresham and the renaissance along Hawthorne are positive examples. Other parts of the region haven't been happening as quickly. Some are successful. Some haven't yet flowered. But that's normal in any community. Things don't happen instantly.
Q. How do we plan for more population?
A. There are no perfect answers to that. People get born. People have freedom of movement. Given that the population is going to grow, how do you make it something that's positive? You do it by making more efficient use of the land we have. With parks, with revitalizing existing town centers.
Q. What makes a good community?
A. For people in the Northwest, it's access to greenery and nature and a variety of ways to get around and a feeling of personal safety. Those are things that make for good community. Good schools, good libraries. Laissez-faire doesn't produce a pleasant place to live.
Q. What are the bad examples of urban growth?
A. You can go anywhere in the country and see bad examples. Phoenix, Atlanta, a lot of the Seattle area.
Q. What does our transportation system need?
A. There has to be a balance of alternatives so people can get around by car or by bus or by not having to travel as far. We need to do a better job of maintaining the streets and roads we have. There are real improvements that need to be made to the bus system on some of the busier streets.
Q. What needs to be done?
A. Speed them up through the signals. More frequency. More express service on places like Foster Road and Powell Boulevard. There are modest improvements that can make a big difference to the rider.
Q. Where will the money come from for transit?
A. There's a group of businesspeople looking at that right now, and they'll make a variety of recommendations on that this fall. They're looking at gas taxes, registration fees, all on a regional level.
Q. Do we need more light rail?
A. Yeah, toward the south there's a real need. I'm very supportive of that.
Q. What should happen with the clean streams initiative?
A. We're trying to balance our concern for clean water with economic realities. We have an economic advisory committee helping to balance that equation.
Q. With an eye toward what?
A. Making sure we protect the clean water we have. It will be a combination of building standards, incentives for restoration, land purchase programs and landscaping. We've already done some of that, purchasing land from willing sellers. Future generations are going to say our greenspace acquisitions program was a very sound investment by Metro.
Q. Do we have too much planning?
A. I don't think laissez-faire where everybody does whatever they want is in everybody's interest. We all have property rights, but we all have a right to live in a community where somebody else's rights don't infringe on your own. We all accept zoning, for example. We give up some property rights to have zoning, but it means our neighbors can't build a 7-Eleven next to your house.
Q. What can Metro do for the local economy?
A. One thing is assisting the tourism industry. And we need to make sure that land for jobs isn't being frittered away. We want to make sure there are industrial sanctuaries so when the right opportunity comes along, the region is ready and we haven't wasted it on some strip mall.
Q. What are the misconceptions about you?
A. There are probably a lot of people who don't know I spent 15 years in the international trade industry, most of it in the private sector.