Episode 81 – Transit to the Great Outdoors

Find out about providing transit to recreation from Andrea Breault of Cascades East Transit and Amy Schlappi of the Hood River County Transportation District, in a conversation hosted by Mpact Innovators’ Chair Corrie Parrish, a Senior Planner at Kittelson & Associates.

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graphic for Mpact Podcast Episode 81 Transit to the Great Outdoors shows two photos: of bus stop near majestic pine trees and a bus near snowy ski slopes

Unedited Transcript – Mpact Podcast Episode 81 – Transit to the Great Outdoors

Park & float? Transit to hiking, skiing, bicycling, rafting or paddle boarding? Yes. On this episode of the Mpact Podcast learn how two different transit agencies in Oregon serve recreational destinations alongside other trips – and why it matters.

We’re joined by Andrea Breault, Transportation Director for Cascades East Transit (CET), and Amy Schlappi, Executive Director of the Hood River County Transportation District, which operates Columbia Area Transit (CAT), in conversation with Corrie Parrish, a Senior Planner at Kittelson & Associates who also is Chair of the Mpact Innovators group. As usual the Innovators bring the fun!

Columbia Area Transit runs several daily trips between Portland and the Columbia Gorge, a beautiful destination in itself. CAT also runs winter routes seven days a week to Mt. Hood, transporting skiers and workers, and springtime routes to see the wildflowers on Dog Mountain.

Cascades East Transit serves Bend, Oregon, and surrounding communities. CET runs transit to skiing, hiking, and biking on Mt. Bachelor and summer routes to the Deschutes River, for rafting and other water recreation, and up to see the views on Lava Butte.

Listen to the podcast for what it takes to deliver transit to recreation, from funding to vehicles to partnerships. Working with recreational businesses, from ski resorts to rafting or bicycling outfits, is key, Breaux and Schlappi say, as is coordination with local government, the US Forest Service and state DOTs.

Both CAT and CET bring the values of public transportation to their service approach. They’re helping address core local needs: supporting the local economy, alleviating traffic and tight parking at sweet outdoor spots and making sure that everyone has access to the physical and mental benefits of the great outdoors.


Featured Guests

Amy Schlappi, Executive Director, Hood River County Transportation District (dba Columbia Area Transit – CAT)

Amy is the Executive Director of Columbia Area Transit – CAT, which operates fixed-route, intercity express, deviated fixed-route, and Dial-a-Ride services in Hood River County. Before joining public transit, Amy worked for shared mobility companies and led teams that reduced reliance on private vehicles and provided additional transportation options to community members. Amy and her team are focused on growing a rural transit system that conveniently facilitates access to jobs, essential services, and recreational activities, while also mitigating safety and congestion issues in Hood River County and along the I-84 corridor in the Gorge-ous Columbia River Gorge!

Andrea Breault, Transportation Director, Cascades East Transit, Bend, OR

Andrea Breault has 19 years of parking, transportation, fleet and dispatching experience. She originally worked on the East Coast managing parking and shuttle services at two universities before making the switch to regional government in Oregon. She currently manages a 80-person transit agency, overseeing three counties and a tribal reservation; providing a spectrum of services from dial-a-ride transportation to regional transit connections.

Corrie Parrish, Senior Planner, Kittelson & Associates, and Chair, Mpact Innovators

Corrie has over ten years of experience working on transportation projects around the country. She is passionate about improving the safety and sustainability of communities through walking, biking, and transit planning and implementation. Her breadth of experience includes working closely with public sector, nonprofit, and private sector clients. LEED certified in neighborhood development, Corrie brings award-winning expertise in first/last mile access to public transit facilities, regional transportation planning, trail and recreational access planning, equity analysis, and grant writing assistance. She is well known for collaborating with clients and the public to ensure high-quality, holistic plans. She also sits on the national steering committee for Mpact (formerly Rail~Volution) as the Mpact Innovators Chair.

In her free time, you probably can’t find her as she is most likely somewhere in the forest searching for elusive morel mushrooms with her dog. She also enjoys playing the guitar, practicing yoga, and is a professional fruit jam maker.

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