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Hales asks Widmer to run transportation bureau

Mayor Charlie Hales recruited a former head of the city’s Bureau of Maintenance to come out of retirement as interim leader of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

John “Toby” Widmer will serve in the post for six months, until a permanent director is named.

Current transportation Director Tom Miller resigned after the new mayor indicated he would replace him, and officially steps down Feb. 4.

Hales has stressed the need to put more emphasis on street-paving and construction, and said Widmer is well-suited for that role.

“Toby came up through the ranks,” Hales stated in a news release. “He was driving trucks and laying asphalt. He understands that street maintenance is his first priority.”

Widmer, 61, worked for the city for 28 years, retiring in 2002.

“He’s a PBOT director who could start up every piece of equipment in the maintenance yard and run it,” Hales said.