11:51 AM: We’re on Beacon Hill, where Mayor Bruce Harrell has just announced his choice for the new director of SDOT: Greg Spotts, the Executive Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer at the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services. You can watch live on Seattle Channel. From the news release:
Spotts currently serves as the Executive Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer at the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services, which oversees 1,500 staff positions, an annual budget of $230 million, and a capital program of more than $350 million. He has led the delivery of over $600 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects as well as efforts to make Los Angeles more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly and sustainable.
Spotts will begin at the department in early September as acting director until Council confirmation. Later today, he will join SDOT crews to tour current bridge infrastructure and see maintenance efforts in action. As he settles in at SDOT, Spotts will tour Seattle’s vibrant neighborhoods by riding transit, cycling, and walking with neighbors and community groups.
The mayor says his choice “fits the bill,” saying Potts is the “transformational leader” he was looking for. He says Spotts has the ability to “consider the academic approach first,” with data and research. Spotts’ online profile quotes him: “I get a thrill from delivering innovative mobility and sustainability projects that revitalize the Los Angeles streetscape.”
12:01 PM: Spotts is now speaking. He says he’s used to working with neighborhoods – L.A., he says, has 99 of them. He says he’ll launch a “listening tour” in September. He says, among other things, he’s “thrilled” to be joining as the Sound Transit light-rail project revs up, and says he worked on light rail in L.A. He says his first day will be September 7th. After his remarks, the mayor goes into some backstory about the search process, which involved an advisory committee.
12:25 PM: The event is over. During Q&A, we asked Spotts what experience he has with bridges. While he’s not a civil engineer, he noted, in short, plenty. We’ll take a closer look at that when back at HQ. The event was held on the Roberto Maestas Festival Street near the Beacon Hill light-rail station to stress themes of equity and multimodality, noted the mayor. Also of note, the choice of someone from L.A. is a coastal change from the past two SDOT directors, both of whom came here by way of Washington, D.C.
1:39 PM: We’re back at HQ and uploading video from the event (update: added above). Here’s Spotts’s biography on the L.A. Bureau of Street Services website. Here’s the city news release; the position requires City Council confirmation, and according to the job listing posted through early July, pays up to a quarter-million dollars a year.