Knope of the Week: Leah Treat, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director

Posted on March 21, 2014


And the winner is….

Leah Treat
Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation

leah treat stool

ELGL joined forces with Oregon ITE to co-host a lunch this week with Leah and it was fantastic! Leah talked about her background, working  with Commissioner Steve Novick, and the move from Chicago to the West Coast. To thank her for an amazing lunch forum ELGL is awarding Leah the Knope of the Week!

Background Check



Connect with Leah: Twitter and LinkedIn

Leah Treat is a seasoned public agency manager who has managed multi-billion dollar portfolios, cut bureaucratic red tape and pioneered innovative financing projects.

She was appointed Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation in July 2013 by City Commissioner Steve Novick after a nation-wide search. The Bureau has more than 750 employees, a combined operating and capital budget of roughly $500 million and manages more than $8 billion in public assets.

Treat came to Portland from Chicago where she was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as Managing Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Word on the Street


Dan Englund, Engineering Consultant & Portland State University MPA Candidate

“DC and Chicago were certainly effective training grounds for Leah Treat before her post as Director of PBOT here in Portland. She comes off as effective leader who understands that making cross jurisdictional projects work take effort, awareness and relationships, as well as, the financing of course. Oregon is lucky to have her. Can’t wait to see her impact. Oh, and I love her MPA background too.”


Tegan Enloe, Transportation Engineer, DKS Associates


Kent Wyatt, Senior Management Analyst, City of Tigard

“Leah was inspiring. Here leadership style is something that really impressed me. Even though PBOT is facing some tough issues Leah will be able to navigate the bureau through them.”


Peter Koonce, Transportation Engineer


Kirsten Wyatt, Assistant City Manager, City of West Linn

“What impressed me the most about Leah was her preparation and thoughtfulness. For her presentation she gave valuable information about her career path, but the thing that stuck with me was her honesty about how hard work is what has gotten her where she is today. That’s an important lesson for all the Oregon ITE and ELGL members to take away. I would work for her in a heartbeat”


Steve Boice, Professional Engineer, DKS Associates  

“I enjoyed how honest and open she was about her career thus far and how she got to where she is now. It was inspiring to hear her journey. I also appreciated the feedback on work/life balance and the traits she sees as important in people in leadership roles. Also her views on how Portland differs from other political Cities she has worked in.”

#Pbot stole Leah Treat from @RahmEmanuel She’s not an engineer or planner but is known for her leadership. #lunchwithleah

— ELGL (@OregonELGL) March 18, 2014

Supplemental Reading

lunch with leah

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