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Local company tapped for Portland bike rental program

Southeast Portland’s Alta Bicycle Share was selected this week for a $2 million bicycle rental program in the Rose City.

Alta Bicycle Share, which has its headquarters on Southeast Grand Avenue, provides similar bike sharing programs in eight U.S. cities, including Chicago and Chattanooga, Tenn.

It was one of three companies competing for the Portland project in March. On Friday, the city’s Bureau of Transportation announced that it would negotiate with Alta for the local bike-sharing program.

“Alta Bicycle Share is a good, homegrown company that has emerged as an international leader in operating bike share systems,” said Mayor Sam Adams. “Advancing them as the finalist allows the city to enter into discussions with this company.”

Bike share systems let people check out a bicycle to ride from one point in the city to another for a small fee. Bike share is operating in 28 U.S. cities.

Regional leaders approved the use of $2 million of federal transportation funds in 2011 for a bike share system in Portland. The funds will leverage private investment — in the form of sponsorships, membership revenue and user fees — to cover costs.

Transportation bureau staff held more than 40 meetings to introduce bike share and discuss bike rental station locations and partnerships.