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Why isn't City Council electrified by EV chargers?

The Woodburn Memorial Transit Facility is nearing completion; all we’re waiting on are the pavilions and the electric vehicle charging station.

But now we’re going to have to wait longer than that, because the Woodburn City Council tabled the agreement with the charging station company last Monday night. Their reasoning: They felt they were getting the raw end of the deal, having to pay the electric bill, which could be anywhere from $500 to $3,500.

I’m somewhat baffled by the council’s reasoning on this. Wasn’t this in the January 2013 agreement that councilors signed off on?

If you know me, you would probably know I have a personal interest in this situation because I drive an electric car. So yes, this would directly benefit me.

But those don’t stop with the electric vehicle driver. There are other benefits the city council obviously didn’t consider. When someone stops to charge their vehicle, they often will patronize local businesses nearby while their car charges. These are often folks who wouldn’t have stopped in our city otherwise. But while they’re here, they’ll grab a bite to eat or do a little shopping. Do you really want to turn away commerce from the city because of 500 bucks?

This also benefits people who live and work in the city. There isn’t another fast-charging level III station on the east side of Interstate 5. If councilors are so concerned about their constituents, why doesn’t that extend to constituents who drive electric vehicles?

Does Woodburn not want to be seen as a green city? No, I don’t mean left-wing, Communist-thinking hippies, but with all the pavement in this city and the number of gas-guzzling vehicles traveling through, why not lessen the burden on the environment by encouraging electric vehicles to come through?

I know, you’re thinking, “Well, you’re just saying that because you have an electric vehicle.” And maybe I am. But having an electric vehicle has allowed me to see how the other half lives, so to speak. It’s a cost savings to me, personally, to have an electric car, but it’s kind of inconvenient having an electric car and nowhere to plug in between Woodburn and Canby along the 99E corridor (Canby only has one level II charging station). I can’t plug in at home, either, as we have only street parking.

So yes, I’m disappointed, because I was looking forward to be able to park my car there and go get lunch at Denny’s, or go get my hair cut at one of the salons in the Fairway Plaza or pick up toiletries at Walgreens.

I just urge the councilors to talk to EV owners — I know I’m not the only one. If you don’t want to make it happen at the transit center, they’re just going to take it to another city, and that city will benefit from the extra commerce and extra positive traffic (positive because it’s emission free!).

The bone of contention is that the city will pay $500 to $3,500 more a year. How is that a significant amount in the scheme of running a city? I would guess the amount would be on the lower end, as there are other EV chargers in the city and surrounding areas, so not all electric vehicles will stop there.

I think councilors are looking at it all wrong — AeroVironment and ODOT are taking care of all the costs to the installation and setup. All you have to do it pay an electric bill. Which you already pay anyway. Why not look at it as a glass half full situation instead of it being such a burden?

I sincerely hope that City Council rethinks its position on the electric vehicle chargers. Not only does it support people like me in the present, but it’s just one of many forward-thinking things the city can do to move us into the future.



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  • 23 Oct 2014

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