On her way to Doha, Qatar, for the 2019 Track and Field Championships, Gov. Kate Brown and a team of staffers stopped in London and Stockholm to take part in transportation-focused sessions. Receipts from the governor’s office and Oregon Department of Transportation show the trip cost nearly $40,000.
ODOT paid for the trip because it was transportation focused, the governor’s office tells Eugene Weekly.
“The group discussed with city officials what works and doesn’t work for them to help inform our steps moving toward a potential congestion-pricing or tolling system in the Portland Metropolitan Area,” says Tom Fuller, a spokesperson for ODOT.
Brown’s four staffers joining the trip were Nik Blosser, chief of staff; Gina Zejdlik, deputy chief of staff; Brendan Finn, transportation policy advisor; and Chris Pair, communications director.
A breakdown of expenses from ODOT shows the agency paid $33,182.35 for five people to stay in London and Stockholm. The trip ran Sept. 28 to Oct. 3.
ODOT paid $6,030 in hotel costs, $1,807 in food, $1,607 in transportation and $6,148 in airfare.
ODOT paid $17,060 in consultation fees to Cities Today. Cities Today organized the sessions Brown and her team attended, and coordinated accomodations, Fuller says.
The governor’s office did pay for two state police officers accompanying Brown and her staff. Receipts show the office shelled out more than $6,000 in travel expenses, including airfare, lodging and transportation.
During the trip, Brown learned about the best practices in public transit, infrastructure and transportation to help inform policies in Oregon, says Charles Boyle, the governor’s press secretary.
“Both cities have well-developed transportation networks, and the governor, her team and representatives from ODOT were able to have productive discussions about public transit, congestion relief strategies, and transportation infrastructure and best practices that can be applied to Oregon’s transportation networks,” Boyle says.
While in London, Brown attended a session held by the British firms HereEast and Plexal, according to her schedule. Shortly afterward she attended a discussion on mobility and autonomous vehicles. Later, she attended a session on land value capture, a session on low emissions and an institutional integration session.
Brown and her team then traveled to Stockholm, where they attended two sessions. In Stockholm, Brown and the state police stayed at the Grand Hotel Stockholm, which invoices show cost $1,950 and is a five-star hotel, according to its website.
Boyle says others from Oregon stayed next door at the Lydmar Hotel because it could accommodate the largest number of rooms at a reasonable rate.
Oregon21, the organizing committee managing the track and field championships in Eugene, paid for Brown and her team’s lodging and traveling while in Doha, Boyle says.