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State transportation panel gains members

Two new members, including the first African American, have been added to the Oregon Transportation Commission.

They are Alando Simpson, vice president of City of Roses Disposal and Recycling in Portland, and Catherine Mater, president of Mater Engineering of Corvallis. Mater also is director of sustainability programs at the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.

The appointments by Gov. John Kitzhaber were confirmed Thursday by the Oregon Senate. Simpson will serve four years, Mater two.

The five-member panel is the policy-making arm of the Oregon Department of Transportation and approves state highway and other transportation projects.

Coupled with the appointment of Douglas County Commissioner Susan Morgan earlier this year, the commission's new members are the most at one time since 1987, when then-Gov. Neil Goldschmidt replaced all five members.