63 results for author: Devon Downeysmith


Oregon transit fleets speed up efforts to electrify

ODOT lays it out clearly: “Battery-electric buses are seen as the future of the industry.” Electrifying transit will help solve what the Oregon Global Warming Commission reported earlier this year: the key reason Oregon is not reaching its climate goals is the transportation sector’s ongoing dependency on diesel and gas.In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, electric buses are cheaper to operate and maintain. According to the US Department of Energy, the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity in Oregon is equivalent to $.97 per gallon, while diesel fuel is typically $2.28 per gallon. Maintenance costs are significantly ...

Fighting for Environmental Progress, Protecting Our Wins

Most of us assume that once a bill has been signed into law, the victory has been achieved and the hard work is done.So what happens after a proposed program becomes law? Do we check the item off our list and move on to the next? At Oregon Environmental Council, the answer is no. Our work continues behind the scenes -- and sometimes, that’s the toughest work of all.Take the Clean Fuels Standard as an example. The Standard, which requires oil companies to gradually reduce carbon pollution from their gasoline and diesel fuel by 10% over ten years, went into effect at the start of this year. But the 2015 legislative session wasn’t when the ...

An Urgent Plea: Retired Oregon Logger Wants Legislature to Protect Others from Diesel Exhaust

Guest blog by Steve PersonI lived in Oregon for a great part of my life, and for five years of my time here, I worked in the timber industry. I was part of a crew that trimmed trees to make sure they didn’t damage power lines. Our trucks ran on diesel, as did our equipment. Day in and day out, we’d breathe in the exhaust -- both from the machines we used and from our trucks, which had to run constantly to power our equipment.I always knew this work presented its physical dangers, but I never imagined it would lead to anything like what my life is like now. I only thought about in-the-moment risks, like falling or getting an injury from ...

OEC Member Profile: Bill Sweat, Co-Owner and Founder, Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

“Second careers, a well-planned next chapter, the pursuit of a shared passion” – this is how Bill Sweat describes his life in Oregon as co-owner of Winderlea, a boutique winery specializing in the limited production of pinot noir and chardonnay.Bill and his wife, Donna, fell in love with pinot noir in the early 1990s. They found the characteristics they most loved about it in Oregon’s pinot noir, and relocated from Boston to Dundee in 2006.Along with their passion for wine, the couple shares a dedication to sustainability. This dedication can be seen right from the moment you drive onto Winderlea’s property, where you’re greeted ...

EV Tourism Expands to Oregon Wine Country

Do you love wine tasting? Do you care about sustainability? Then you’ll want to raise a glass to this -- the Plug & Pinot EV Tourism Program. Born out of the realization that a number of Oregon wine country businesses already had electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, but no network to connect them, the program was created to show that Oregon’s Wine Country is accessible for EV drivers, and a great way to experience it.Extending from Gaston to Dundee, from Dayton to Salem, and all the way to the town of Elkton, several of the program’s members were among the first wineries to plant vines in the Willamette Valley over 40 years ...

B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery: Moving Portland Into the Future, Today

B-Line Sustainable Urban Delivery is a company unlike any other operating in the US today.Founded in 2009 by Franklin Jones, the idea for this Portland business came to him as he rode by bike from Japan to Ireland. Traversing continents, Franklin rode through cities of all shapes and sizes, experiencing the varied ways different cultures deliver goods and manage logistics. He saw that many cultures utilize cargo trike set-ups, giving him the idea for a sustainable delivery method that could work in Portland, a city already synonymous with bike culture.B-Line serves Portland’s urban core, delivering within a 2.5 mile radius of the city center. ...

The Future of Clean Energy Is Bright: How Oregon Solar Could Go from 1% to 10% in 10 Years

It’s an exciting time to be alive.From amazing medical developments, like bionic prosthetics and the ability to grow entirely new organs from stem cells, to advancements in technology that have enabled us to find ice on Mars and break the petaflop barrier, and expansions in clean energy technology that have resulted in its widespread availability and affordability - we’re living in a fast-paced, constantly developing world.When it comes to energy production, the decisions we make today will have a lasting impact on our planet, people and infrastructure. A report released in 2015 by the Obama administration said that almost half of the countr...

Electric Transportation = Benefits Not Buzz for Bend Tour Company

At any given day in Bend, Oregon, there are no less than 20 tour companies taking visitors to see the sites, according to Central Oregon tourism group Visit Bend.The Bend Tour Company stands out from the crowd - with tours offered on electric bikes, segways or cruiser cars, and themed tours of the city and surrounding sights.Partner John Flannery says he knew eco-tourism would be good for the environment, but he never imagined it would be so good for business.E-bikes, segways and cars have allowed for an intimate group experience to see more of the area than a traditional tour van would allow, while also bringing a “cool” factor to ...

When Public Transit Options Are Few: Quentin’s Story

It can be hard to be a college student. The many hours of study, plus juggling a regular job, student activities, work study — it’s a lot of pressure. Adding onto the regular stresses of college life, a lack of sufficient public transit service to get to class, appointments or work is not something students should have to deal with. But for students at Umpqua Community College, it is a reality.Quentin knows this struggle well.A student at Umpqua Community College, Quentin studies Spanish and Health. He depends on public transit to get to class. Regular bus service can make the difference between whether Quentin gets credit or not. Curren...

When Clean Fuels Win, So Does the Climate, Our Air, Our Oregon

Good news in the environmental world can feel hard to come by these days. That’s why it's more important than ever that we elevate and celebrate local success stories. SeQuential Biofuels is one of those local stories worth celebrating.An Oregon business that recycles used cooking oil, SeQuential takes waste that would otherwise be thrown out with the nightly trash, and converts it into clean burning biodiesel.An early participant in the Oregon Clean Fuels Standard, Portland-based SeQuential is proving that the Standard is a success. Their company is growing, and their biodiesel is sold all over the state (you may have even bought their fuel ...