Personal tools

Neil McFarlane

From Portland Afoot

Jump to: navigation, search
Neil McFarlane
Neil McFarlane at an ATU rally in June 2010

Neil McFarlane became TriMet's general manager on July 1, 2010, after what the agency described as a national search to replace the departing Fred Hansen.

McFarlane had previously served as the agency's executive director for capital projects starting in 1998, and before that as the Project Control Director for the 18-mile westside MAX extension that sent the Blue Line to Beaverton and Hillsboro.


[edit] Professional history

As TriMet's capital projects director, McFarlane led the development, design and construction of the Airport, Interstate, I-205 and Portland Mall light rail extension projects.

From 1986 to 1991, McFarlane worked for Metro, managing construction for the $90 million Oregon Convention Center in Northeast Portland.

McFarlane grew up in Inglewood, Calif. He has a master's in urban planning from UCLA and a bachelor's degree from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

[edit] Appointment as GM

McFarlane was named general manager by a board selection committee that included TriMet board members George Passadore, Rick Van Beveren and Tiffany Sweitzer. The committee was assisted by a "selection advisory group" that included Tom Brian, chair of the Washington County commission; Lynn Peterson, chair of the Clackamas County commission; Diane McKeel, county commissioner for east Multnomah County; Metro councilor and JPACT chair Carlotta Collette; and Robert Williams, past TriMet board member and board liaison to TriMet's Committee on Accessible Transportation.

McFarlane's appointment was announced April 28, 2010.

Asked that day why he'd wanted to take on the job, McFarlane said it was because he thought he could do it well.

"I have been in my current position at TriMet since 1991," he said. "I felt ready for it."

McFarlane said he'd formally applied for the job, but that he "was encouraged by a number of people inside and outside the agency."

[edit] Quick appointment process criticized

More than a month after McFarlane's appointment, Portland-based Metro councilor Robert Liberty wrote a letter critical of the closed selection process, writing:

Hearings would have allowed the public to comment on very basic questions of strategy, such as trade-offs between capital and operating costs for light rail versus buses, how to extend transit services to the outer portions of the region, integrating land use and transportation investments, and the long-term financial health of the agency. ... The culmination would be the public vetting of the finalists. But that isn't what happened.

In a post reporting the letter, local transit blogger EngineerScotty wrote: "the way TriMet conducted its search seemed to annoy just about every other local government in town."

[edit] Vision for TriMet and Portland

[edit] Optimism at time of hiring

On the day he was hired, McFarlane told Portland Afoot that the proportion of Portlanders who use mass transit "has to increase long term" if the region's transportation plans are to remain viable.

Those new riders will be "you and I," McFarlane said at the time.

"There'll be a number of overlapping demographic changes that will help support transit," McFarlane said, referring to Portland's aging population and to national and local surveys that, he said, show that "those who are younger have a much more positive view of transit."

[edit] Interviews with Portland Transport

In 2010, just after his hiring, McFarlane accepted an invitation from the blog to conduct a four-part interview series on his views and perspectives about TriMet. He planned to sit for a second extended interview with the blog in March 2011.

[edit] Personal life

At his appointment in April 2010, McFarlane and his wife Annette had two grown children. According to a 2010 Oregonian profile, a tumor surgery left him deaf in his right ear.

[edit] External links

Did you find this page useful? Could it get better? You're meeting Portland Afoot in its toddlerhood! You can help build this free online guide to low-car life in PDX by clicking "edit" in the right sidebar and adding what you know. Or just leave your questions or ideas below. Thanks for visiting!

Improve this page