By Mindy Cooper/The Portland Observer
A new solar electric vehicle charging facility, located in a parking lot that serves more than 20 local businesses on Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard, was celebrated June 8 during a special grand opening.
Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen attended the ceremony, which highlighted improvements to the Portland Development Commission’s parking lot at 3620 Martin Luther King Blvd, where individuals throughout the community can now charge their electric vehicles conveniently, while simultaneously drawing customers to area retailers.
“We really are at the dawn of a new era,” said Cogen after thanking stakeholders for locating the station conveniently in the heart of Northeast Portland.
“Portland Development Commission is here because they think this has an economic upside, revolutionizing our transportation system and our economy.”
From a PDC standpoint, said Public Affairs Manager for PDC Shawn Uhlman, the charging station is an example of how the agency is furthering their investments in the neighborhood and demonstrating to the community their cluster industries, which in this case is electric vehicles.
“We’re utilizing the space here so any resident in the local area can park here, charge their electric vehicles, and then visit the local businesses that are around,” he said.
As the first of its kind within the Portland area, the locally constructed charging station is the second major community installation the company ECOtality, a leader in clean electric transportation, has rolled out, explained Rich Feldman, the project manager for the Electric Vehicles Project from Portland to Ashland.
With the level-two charging station, EV drivers can charge their car from zero to full battery in six to eight hours. “People can drive, charge up, do errands and charge back up,” he said.
At the ceremony, Pacific Core provided power for a demonstration of a short charge for the EV Nissan Leaf.
“I could ride up here, charge my bike and ride back home again,” said Chris Hoffman, the chief executive officer of Ryno Motors. Throughout the event he could be seen riding his electric powered micro cycle, which he said is half the bike and twice the personal transportation. Although he lives in Southeast Portland, he explained the drive to the charging station will be a nice destination for a Sunday afternoon drive.
Some of the local businesses nearby, include Bandini Pizza and Pasta, Aphrodite Hair Design, Kings Closet, D & J Nails Spa, Not Cho’ Stuff Gifts, Varsity Blue Bar-B Que and King Blvd Liquor Store.
“What we are trying to do is make it clear that the neighborhoods of Portland will receive the attention on par with the central city,” said Uhlman. “And these are resources we hope to make available by replicating this model throughout other Portland neighborhoods.”