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Garrett celebrates 10 years at helm of Oregon DOT

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STATE OF OREGON - Matt GarrettGov. Kate Brown had nice things to say about Oregon Department of Transportation director Matt Garrett, as Garrett celebrated his 10th anniversary at the helm of the agency this month. Brown didn’t deliver her remarks in person, but Brown’s sustainable communities and transportation policy adviser Karmen Fore read a letter from the governor during the Oregon Transportation Commission meeting Thursday morning.

“Matt’s career epitomizes his dedication public service,” the governor wrote in the letter. Brown noted that Garrett worked as an aide to U.S. Sen. Mark Hatfield, before going to work at ODOT in 1997.

“During his tenure, he has been recognized for his ability to steer the agency effectively through both challenging times and good times,” Brown wrote of Garrett. The governor also wrote that Garrett is “highly respected by his staff and peers for his integrity and for treating all people with dignity and respect” and thanked him “for his enduring loyalty and contributions that have made Oregon’s transportation system better for all Oregonians.”

Garrett and ODOT have been the subject of heightened scrutiny by the Legislature and governor this year, since Garrett said during a hearing that a transportation funding package would not reduce carbon emissions by the amount initially promised. The revelation was a death knell for the legislation. In November, Brown called for an independent review of ODOT’s management practices. A week later, Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, released emails showing Garrett and advisers to Brown had conflicting information about emissions reductions which they failed to share with lawmakers. Ferrioli called for Garrett to resign.