The Hood River County Transportation District Board is pleased to announce the appointment of Amy Schlappi to the position of Executive Director of Columbia Area Transit (CAT) as of late December 2021. She will work alongside current Executive Director, Patty Fink, until Ms. Fink’s retirement in July 2022. Prior to this appointment Schlappi served as CAT’s Planning & Development Manager since October of 2019.
During her tenure with CAT, Schlappi has helped shape and expand the transportation system in Hood River County, executing projects like the GOrge Pass, and assisting in the development of an expanded Gorge-wide transportation system in partnership with other Gorge transportation providers.
Schlappi has developed community programs to improve transportation access for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals, and Limited-English Proficiency individuals. With support from the Columbia Gorge Health Council and the City of Hood River, she helped expand the Low-Income Pass program, and created the structured Gorge Transit Connect Program resulting in the distribution of 400 bus passes to low-income individuals in Hood River and Wasco Counties in 2021. In addition, she expanded the Student Free-Fare Program, collaborating with the school district, schools, and families to educate students on available transit resources to meet transportation needs outside of school provided transportation. These projects helped increase awareness of public transit services in the region and have allowed the district to build partnerships with local organizations.
Schlappi has a BS in Urban Planning and a Master of Science in International Planning and Development. Her eight years of managerial experience and prior work experience with organizations like ZIPCAR and Chariot Transit made her the ideal choice for the CAT ED position.
“We’re delight Amy has accepted the Executive Director role,” said Board Chair Lara Dunn. “Amy has proven to be an invaluable employee and has the experience and skills necessary to lead the District forward.”
Patty Fink stated, “Amy is an outstanding choice. She is well respected by staff, understands the day to day operations and has been instrumental in forging the necessary partnership to ensure public transit is a key part of Hood River County’s transportation network ”
Executive Director Fink (appointed in 2017) has led the District through pivotal changes to improve the overall efficiency and operations of CAT, including adding more services and creating new partnerships in the Columbia Gorge region. After 35 years of devoted public transit planning and management, Fink will be retiring from public service in July 2022.
As Schlappi assumes the Directorship, she will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations, executing a new Transit Master Plan, and leading policy development and planning for a balanced, safe, and efficient transportation system. Additional responsibilities include promoting increased use of sustainable forms of transportation like walking, biking, and transit use in the District’s service area, while working to improve equity in transportation policies, programs, and services.
Schlappi’s appointment began late December 2021, she will transition into her role over the next six months taking on full responsibility for the District in July 2022.