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Illustration of downtown Portland's new Forth Living Lab
Illustration of downtown Portland's new Forth Living Lab

Driving Beyond Oregon

By Bill Moore

Drive Oregon is a 501 C corporation charged with helping facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles and their supporting charging infrastructure in the State of Oregon. Now it's ready to cross the Columbia into Washington State under a new name.

Zack Henkin and his colleagues at Drive Oregon, have an interesting challenge: promote the greater use of electric vehicles in their state. While some of their funding comes from Salem, they aren't a government agency. Instead, they are a non-profit charged with facilitating the transition from a ICE-age transportation model to an EV world.

Since it's founding several years ago, its focus has been exclusively on Oregon, as its name implies. Now with a new, larger grant, a soon-to-open outreach center in downtown Portland, and a new name - Forth - Henkin and the other members of the 10-person staff are about to cross the Columbia River into their neighbor, Washington State.

In this 20-minute Skype video conversation, Henkin talks with EV World's Bill Moore about the mission, past, present and future encouraging more companies to provide workplace changing, setting up more public charging stations, and getting gov't fleets to switch to EVs.

Both Oregon and Washington are two of the "greenest" states in the Union in terms of electric power generation. More than 42% of Oregon's electricity is generated by hydropower; only 33% from coal. Washington uses even more hydro: 70%, while coal is only 7.1% If you're going to own an electric car and not fret about your CO2 emissions, this is where you'd want to live. And according to Henkin, Portland, Oregon has the highest per capita concentration of electric car charging stations of any other state. And, of course, there's the West Coast Electric Highway equipped with fast chargers positioned every 25-50 miles from the Canadian border south to San Diego.

Given the developing pattern of fossil fuel entrenchment in the current Trump regime, it appears that organizations like DriveOregon (soon-to-be Forth) will have to shoulder more of the responsibility for ensuring a cleaner, for environmentally-responsible transportation future.

Times Article Viewed: 6943
Originally published: 18 Apr 2017

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