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Former ODOT boss Garrett named wildfire recovery director

Burned out fire truck OR 22 near Detroit
A burned-out fire truck sits on state Highway 22 near Detroit.

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday the appointment of Matthew Garrett as wildfire recovery director, effective immediately.

In this role, Garrett will serve as principal advisor to the governor on recovery issues related to the 2020 wildfire season, develop a strategic recovery plan designed to consider the needs of all impacted Oregon communities, and lead the development of a 2021 budget and policy request that represents the total recovery needs of Oregon communities, in collaboration with the Governor’s Disaster Cabinet and Wildfire Economic Recovery Council.   

"As we begin the process of rebuilding after the historic wildfire devastation our state has seen, we need a seasoned leader like Mr. Garrett who understands the economics of our state, as well as the importance of bringing communities together," Brown said. "His experience and approach will help us make good fiscal decisions, while helping to address the needs of Oregonians in all our communities that have been impacted."  

Garrett brings decades of experience to this role. He served as director of the Oregon Department of Transportation from 2005 to 2019 – the longest serving director in the state agency’s 100+ year history.

Agency achievements under his leadership include receiving the largest funding package ever for transportation in Oregon (Keep Oregon Moving in 2017) and implementing the nation’s first operational per-mile road use charge.

Previously at ODOT, Garrett served as Local Government Liaison, Chief of Staff, and as the Portland Region manager for ODOT.

Before joining ODOT in 1997, he served on the personal staff of U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield from 1994 to 1997 in both his Washington, D.C. office and as Oregon field representative. Garrett was raised in Oregon and is a graduate of George Washington University. 

Garrett's appointment as Wildfire Recovery Director is effective through June 30, 2021.

Fire Alert / Government-politics

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. Columbia River Crossing fiasco ($100 million by conservative estimate) and Wickiup Junction Overcrossing screw-up ($18 million) both happened on his watch. Pays well to be a Brown crony, but not as fiscally rewarding for state taxpayers.

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