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Meet the Director's Team

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Tara Wasiak - Deputy Director

Tara Wasiak

“I’m thrilled and honored to serve PBOT in the deputy role,” said Tara. “Not only is PBOT a great place to work, but the work of our bureau, our collective effort to get Portland moving toward a safer, more accessible, more equitable future is an exciting and energizing mission. I am very proud to be a part of this team and associated with this transformational  work.”

Prior to becoming Deputy Director, Tara worked as the group director of Maintenance Operations and was involved in advancing PBOT’s equity goals by diversifying the Maintenance Operations workforce. Pre-Covid, she helped organize a career fair for jobs in Maintenance Operations. It was a massive undertaking and they reached larger audiences by rethinking how to advertise jobs and bring people into the bureau. “People don’t know the variety of things we do,” said Tara. The job fair gave them a chance to show participants all of the different opportunities there are at Maintenance Operations.

Another major area of focus for Tara was better integrating Maintenance with the rest of the bureau and improving project delivery for small capital project work. Tara led a reorganization of Maintenance Operations and aligned resources better around all of the groups. She added two divisions and created new positions to be more efficient in how Maintenance delivers the work and supports employees. She wanted to make sure that staff would be better supported in terms of opportunity and professional development.

All of these experiences inform Tara’s work as PBOT’s Deputy Director. In addition to Maintenance Operations, she is in charge of the Development, Permitting & Transit, Engineering Services, Parking & Regulatory Services, and Policy, Planning & Projects groups, as well as Asset Management. She will support PBOT in reducing its silos and being more transparent. This includes considering how PBOT delivers its work and how it’s aligned with our strategic plan.

Tosin Abiodun - Equity & Inclusion Manager

Chris Armes - Interim Parking Services Group Manager

Dave Benson - Interim Maintenance Operations Group Manager 

Dave Benson

Dave Benson was appointed interim Maintenance Operations Group Manager in May 2021. Previously, his role was Group Manager of the Parking Enforcement, Parking Operations and Regulatory Divisions. Prior to joining PBOT, Dave worked at the Portland Police Bureau for over three decades.  During his career, he served in a variety of leadership roles. Most notably, he was the supervising commanding officer of Police Bureau divisions including:  Central and Southeast Precincts, the Drugs and Vice Division, the Tactical Operations Division and the Training and Education Unit.  Dave also played a prominent part in ensuring that police bureaus throughout the state had a robust pipeline of future recruits. From 1998 to 2001, he served as the state director of the Oregon Police Corps, an ROTC-like scholarship program for college students aspiring to be police officers.

Outside of the workplace, Dave has been a volunteer athletic coach and, for over 20 years, an adjunct faculty member at a number of area colleges and universities teaching courses ranging from law enforcement surveys to strategic planning and budgeting. 

Dave has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Public Administration degree from Portland State University.

John Brady - Communications and Public Involvement Director

John Brady

As the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Director of Communications and Public Involvement, John and his team plan, design and implement the initiatives to communicate with and engage Portlanders about the many facets of PBOT’s work.  

John’s career as a public policy and communications professional spans a decade and includes experience in both the public and private sectors. Recruited by Nike to join the company’s Global Communications team, John wrote speeches and other communications for the company’s CEO and other members of the company’s executive team.   

Before joining Nike, John spent eight years in Los Angeles City government, including with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering and with the administration of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. As a member of the Mayor Villaraigosa’s administration, John worked on a diverse range of issues, including the modernization of LAX, the historic expansion of the city’s transit system; affordable housing and transit oriented design; the foreclosure crisis and neighborhood revitalization; neighborhood councils and expanded community engagement; and the City’s budget and its fiscal crisis. John was a key contributor to the administration’s response to the foreclosure crisis, an effort that included working with key non-profit groups, financial institutions and the media to increase the access of Angelenos to free and reliable foreclosure related resources. As Transportation Policy Director, John led the Mayor’s Office’s initiatives related to bicycles, including coordinating legislative strategy on bicycle issues and monitoring the implementation of the City’s bicycle master plan. As the Mayor’s Deputy Director of Communications and Principal Speechwriter, John wrote the Mayor’s speeches for local, state, national and international audiences. Speech highlights include Villaraigosa’s 2012 and 2013 State of the City speeches, his two national addresses as President of US Conference of Mayors, the speeches during his trade trips to China and Latin America as well as his remarks marking the historic visit of China’s Vice President Xi Jinping to Los Angeles.  

When not practicing politics and public policy, John enjoys teaching it. With a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, John has taught at various colleges and universities including UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, the University of Southern California, Pomona College and California State University, Northridge. He has lectured on and presented his research at conferences throughout the United States and in Europe. 

John graduated summa cum laude from Marquette University. He lives in Portland with his wife and two young sons.

Wendy Cawley - Traffic Systems & Operations Group Director

Wendy Cawley was recently appointed as the Manager for the Traffic Systems and Operations Group.  She began working for PBOT in 1997 because she wanted to interact more with people in their neighborhoods. Since that time Wendy has worked in Traffic Operations, Traffic Design, Project Management and Development Review. In 2010, Wendy accepted a position as PBOT’s Traffic Safety Engineer and helped shape the High Crash Corridor program that eventually became the Vision Zero Program. Wendy was appointed as PBOT’s first female City Traffic Engineer in March 2020.

Wendy is responsible for managing the Signals & Street Lighting, Traffic Design, Traffic Operations and Temporary Traffic Control sections. These sections are responsible for designing new streets, redesigning existing streets, creating traffic control plans to help people move through and around construction sights, designing street lighting systems to help Portlanders move safely in dark conditions, designing and timing traffic signals to keep Portlanders moving safely and efficiently through busy intersections, and investigating and responding to neighborhood safety concerns, such as requests for new crosswalks or stop signs. Wendy is proud to manage the 80 staff that make up this group – they are some of the most talented traffic engineers and technicians in the nation. 

Wendy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington. Outside of work, Wendy likes to travel with her husband, visit her kids at college, hike, golf, and play piano.

Shoshana Cohen - Intergovernmental Affairs Manager

Mike Kerr - Strategy & Innovation Manager

Christine Leon - Development Permitting and Transit Group Manager 

Christine Leon

Christine has been the Manager of PBOT’s Development Permitting & Transit Group since her interim appointment in December 2013. For six years prior, Christine was the Principal Engineer in charge of Development Services and Street Systems Management Division, where over 41,000 permits, requests, and inspections are reviewed each year. She has also managed the Bureau's Civil Design Section and developed Oregon’s first local agency certification for federally funded projects.

As group manager, Christine is responsible for 80 staff. Her organization regulates the permits use of the right-of-way and is also in charge of development review, right-of-way leases and acquisitions. Her group oversees operation and maintenance of the Portland Streetcar and Portland Aerial Tram.

Before joining PBOT in 1992, she was Area Engineer for the Federal Highway Administration and has worked in Salem, Oregon, Virginia and Maine. Christine has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University.

Art Pearce - Policy, Planning and Projects Group Manager 

Art Pierce

Art has been with PBOT since 1998. He started as Group Manager in December 2013. He oversees the Transportation Planning, Project Management, and Active Transportation & Safety divisions in the group, with a staff of over 70 people. The group guides transportation ideas through the long-range planning and policy, project development, and construction stages.

Prior to his current position, Art was a Senior Capital Project Manager for PBOT. His work focused on public transit corridor development and neighborhood revitalization. His projects included the planning and implementation of Portland’s South Waterfront District, and the Portland Aerial Tram. In 2009, Art led the planning and funding for the reconstruction of SW Moody Street, including a $23 million dollar “Innovation Quadrant” TIGER Grant award.

Art has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH, and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University.

Steve Townsen - City Engineer/Engineering Group Manager 

Steve Townsen

Steve has worked for PBOT since 1997 and has been in his role as City Engineer since 2005. In that capacity, he manages the work of Engineering Services, which include the following sections: Surveying, Bridges & Structures, Civil Design, Construction/Inspection, Pavement Management, Traffic Design, Traffic Operations and Signals and Street Lights.

As group manager, Steve is responsible for about 170 employees. Steve has 20 years of experience in civil engineering, surveying, and construction. During his time with PBOT, he was instrumental in the construction of the Sunderland Yard recycling facility, and the road networks for the New Columbia and Cascade Station developments.

He has Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering, Mathematics and Mathematics Education from Oregon State University.

Jeramy Patton - Business Services Group Manager 

Jeramy Patton

Jeramy was appointed as the Business Services Group Manager in February of 2017. Business Services is the backbone of the bureau, providing efficient and comprehensive back-office support to over 900 employees. With a staff of around 70 employees, Jeramy manages the bureau’s work regarding technology services, administrative support, personnel management, procurement & contracts, timekeeping, employee safety & training, risk management, finance, budget, strategic planning, process improvement, and performance management.

Jeramy joined the City of Portland in 2003 as a financial analyst in the City Budget Office. Throughout his 13 years in the office, Jeramy coordinated the City’s budget process, provided budget and policy analysis for five Mayors, served on the City’s implementation team for a new Enterprise Resource Planning system, and was the office’s first Deputy Director, serving in that capacity for four years. Before joining the City, Jeramy spent two years with the State of Oregon Budget and Management Division and was a legislative assistant during the 2001 State Legislative Session. Jeramy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Oregon State University.

Outside of work, Jeramy enjoys spending time outdoors camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and coaching youth soccer.