From Portland Afoot
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.
 Professional history
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.
 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."
 Quick appointment process criticized
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.
 Vision for TriMet and Portland
 Optimism at time of hiring
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."
 Interviews with Portland Transport
In 2010, just after his hiring, McFarlane accepted an invitation from the PortlandTransport.com 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.
 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.
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