Local attorney named to state transportation committee


Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed Medford attorney David Lohman to the Oregon Transportation Commission on Monday, a move that one city official said he hopes will move the panel away from just laying more asphalt to alleviate traffic congestion.

If confirmed by the state Senate, Lohman will help oversee the Oregon Department of Transportation and its projects at a time when roads and highway infrastructure tops the Democratic governor's list of legislative priorities.

Lohman said in a telephone interview Monday that he is eager to begin working with the commission, which is expected to play a key role in developing a long-term statewide transportation funding package to be brought to the 2009 state Legislature.

"The state has some major transportation issues," Lohman said. "Funding is certainly a big issues and moving freight is another issue that needs some real attention by the Department of Transportation and its commission." Lohman &

a named partner in the local law firm Huycke, O'Connor, Jarvis Lohman &

was director of the Port of Portland's policy and planning department from 1992 to 2003 and was deputy director of the Oregon Economic Development Department from 1987 to 1991.

Ashland Mayor John Morrison said he hoped that Lohman would take a "progressive stance" on transportation planning.

"The cards are on the table: the single family auto is going to become more and more expensive to operate, so we need to be making the transition toward alternatives," said Morrison, a member of the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Adding lanes to local roads shouldn't be the state's first response to alleviating traffic congestion, Morrison said. Expanding rail service, building more bike lanes and improving local mass transit service is "another challenge" for the state, he said.

"I am hoping that Mr. Lohman is visionary and is willing to look at alternatives to cars," Morrison said. "Little by little, we need to reduce the pressure on our system so there isn't a demand to suddenly build six lanes down the middle of the Valley." Ron Fox, executive director of Southern Oregon Economic Development Inc., said Lohman has a unique set of experiences that make him well suited for the post.

"Based on the year's I've worked with Dave, he's got a wealth of knowledge about transportation as a key aspect of the state's economy," Fox said. "He's going to represent Southern Oregon and see that we don't get forgotten."

covers the state Legislature for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at csrizo@hotmail.com.

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