Meet the Executive Team

Titles and bios for the Executive Team at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), including Director, Deputy Director, Group Directors of PBOT's seven business groups, and leads for Communications, Intergovernmental Affairs, Asset Management, and Strategy
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Tara Wasiak - Interim Director

Headshot of Tara Wasiak

“I’m thrilled and honored to serve PBOT in this 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 being appointed Interim Director in January 2023, Tara was PBOT's Deputy Director and, before that, was group director of Maintenance Operations. In the latter role, she 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 Interim Director. She will continue to 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.

Dave Benson - Parking & Regulatory Services Group Director

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.

Wendy Cawley - Traffic Systems & Operations Group Director

Wendy Cawley headshot

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.

Catherine Ciarlo - Development, Permitting & Transit Group Director (Interim)

Shoshana Cohen - Intergovernmental Resources & Policy Affairs Manager

Marisa DeMull - Internal Equity Services Manager (Interim)

With a passion for combining safety and equity, Marisa Trujillo DeMull, PE, is a lifelong social justice activist. From labor organizer to traffic engineer, her career has centered the voices of vulnerable populations. She led the state organizing effort for President Obama’s 2008 victory in New Mexico. She worked on successful union campaigns in Texas, Ohio, and New Mexico. In 2019, Marisa joined PBOT as a traffic engineer in the Traffic Design Section. In her time as traffic engineer at PBOT, she focused on active transportation while integrating principles of racial equity into the work of engineers.

Today, Marisa aims to create a safe and welcoming workplace for all PBOTers as the Internal Equity & Inclusion Manager. She leads initiatives to increase the employee application of equity and inclusion principles and to build accountability for equity and inclusion metrics. Marisa holds degrees in political science, religious studies, and civil engineering. In her free time she can be found learning Indonesian, making shea butter lotions, or baking with her family.

Jeramy Patton - Business Services Group Director 

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.

Art Pearce - Policy, Planning & Projects Group Director 

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 Avenue, 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.

Katie Root - Assets & Infrastructure Manager

Katie joined PBOT in 2018, initially supporting PBOT’s Office of Strategy & Innovation and now as the Asset Manager. In that capacity, she is responsible for developing and overseeing the bureau’s overall strategic asset management goals, as well as managing and monitoring PBOT’s assets and current conditions.

Katie’s experience includes 20 years of leading the strategy and management of federal and local programs and projects, applying continuous improvement. This includes human-centered design, lean, and agile principles to promote innovative thinking, continuous improvement, and rapid delivery of services.

She holds a Juris Doctorate from Catholic University and Bachelor of Art in English and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Emma Sagor - Strategy & Performance Manager

Hannah Schafer - Communications Director

Headshot of Hannah Schafer

A born-and-raised Portlander, Hannah spent the first 10 years of her career in Israel working on cross-cultural, transboundary environmental initiatives. Her work put her at the forefront of Israel’s environmental movement and creation of the nation’s solar energy industry.  

Since her return to Portland in 2015, Hannah has had the pleasure of wonking out on local transportation issues and leading award-winning communication campaigns on a variety of topics including Vision Zero, Fixing Our Streets, Better Naito, Parking Kitty, and more.   

Today, Hannah leads a small but mighty team of talented communicators focused on building public awareness and engagement around PBOT’s numerous projects, programs, and policies to advance safety, mobility, equity, and transportation justice. Outside of work, Hannah can usually be found e-biking around the city or working in her garden. 

Wendy Serrano - External Equity Services Manager

A native Tapatia, Wendy grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico until her family relocated to Milwaukie, Oregon in 2001. Wendy became bilingual while living in Oregon and credits her immigrant experience as the roots of her advocacy to ensure underrepresented communities are heard within government structures. Losing her grandmother in 2009 to traffic violence and growing up transit-dependent in the region made Wendy passionate about building safe, equitable, and accessible transportation systems. 

At PBOT Wendy oversees community engagement, advisory bodies, and equity policy for the bureau. She leads community initiatives and internal best practices to help lift underrepresented voices from Portlanders. She supervises a small team of dedicated community engagement coordinators.

Wendy has dedicated her professional career to public service. She’s worked for the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, conducting outreach to local Latine communities on topics of healthcare, education and economic development. She’s served as Field Representative for Congressman Earl Blumenauer, advising the congressman on local Latine and immigrant issues that include immigration, international relations, and human rights. She’s also worked for local transportation agency TriMet leading critical community engagement for capital projects across the region and developing strong relationships with diverse communities to inform equity and engagement policies for the agency. Prior to joining PBOT Wendy lived in Berlin, Germany where she worked at the German Federal Foreign Service as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow where she led projects that focused on engaging European and American stakeholders on discussions about democracy and immigration.

Wendy holds a bachelor’s in communication studies from Portland State University and an MBA from George Fox University. When she’s not working, Wendy enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends outdoors, salsa dancing and running local races.

Steve Townsen - City Engineer, Engineering Services Group Director 

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.

Jody Yates - Maintenance Operations Group Director