29 results for author: Sara Wright


Tolling in Oregon: What’s The Deal?

What is tolling? It seems like a simple question, but a “toll” can be understood in many different ways. Most simply, a toll is a charge for driving a vehicle on a specific piece of roadway.  Looking beyond that, though, there are a lot of really interesting questions worth considering.  For example, how much should a toll cost? What is the toll really paying for? Should every vehicle be charged the same amount, regardless of factors like the time of day or the number of passengers? The answers to these questions are more important than you might think. The price of a toll, much like the price of a loaf of bread or a gallon of gas, can ripple ...

New land use planning rules begin to address gaps from the past

Last month, The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) finalized the adoption of the Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities rules. These transportation and land use rules, while not completely transformative, have real potential to help communities shape their growth in ways that support thriving communities, reduce dependence on cars and greenhouse gas emissions, and provide more affordable housing options. The rules also aim to address equity by directing transportation, housing, and planning investments and policy to serve everyone in Oregon, particularly those from under-resourced and under-served communities.  Oregon's ...

Investing in a Better Transportation Future

Oregon is receiving more than a billion dollars from the federal government through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This money will be allocated to projects around the state by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), under the direction of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC). The OTC is currently considering key decisions about spending this money, with final decisions due in March.  Oregon Environmental Council, as a core member of the Clean and Just Transportation Network, is calling on the OTC to spend the money on projects that make it easier and safer to walk, bike and take transit in, and between, communities ...

What could we do with a billion dollars?

Now that Congress has passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, more than a billion dollars will be coming to Oregon for transportation. That’s great news and it presents us with a big opportunity to think about how we can spend that money wisely. Some of the money is committed to specific projects already underway. But, we’ll have choices with the rest and we should demand that it be invested in things that we know we need in the future. Things that will give people more freedom, access, and choices about how they get around, and which also make our communities safer, healthier, and more resilient. What kinds of things could this ...

E-Bike Events this Fall with OEC

At OEC, we believe that a high-quality transportation system is one that offers people healthy and safe choices to meet their transportation needs. Electric bicycles and other kinds of small electric mobility devices, like scooters and skateboards, are potentially transformative because they can meet many of the same needs as a car, but with fewer costs, and a lot less pollution. In order to really take advantage of their potential, we need to make sure that our leaders understand the benefits so they can help us realize the potential of e-bikes. To this end, OEC’s Legislative Director Morgan Gratz-Weiser and I (Transportation Program ...

ODOT Mega-projects in the Portland area

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has a mega-project wishlist. The top projects on this list are the Abernethy Bridge on I-205, and the Boone Bridge, the Rose Quarter, and the Columbia River Crossing on I-5.  These projects have been waiting for funding for years or even decades. A total price tag for Oregon of at least four billion dollars seems likely, and for that, we’ll receive a few short segments of highways with more lanes.  ODOT says these projects will increase safety and reduce traffic congestion in the Portland region. However, they will not meaningfully achieve these goals. If we really wanted to address safety and ...

Building Bridges: Connections Between Communities, Climate, and Equitable Transportation

The Columbia River between Washington and Oregon has been significant for transportation around the region for thousands of years, with people moving along and across the river to meet their needs, make a living, and connect across communities. The I-5 bridge between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, is currently at the center of a regional conversation about transportation, connectedness, and community needs.  Replacing the bridge has been discussed for decades. Most recently, a proposed project to replace the bridge died when the Washington State Legislature decided not to fund its state’s share of the project in 2013.  In 2019, ...

OEC and partners call on ODOT to consider climate and equity

July 14, 2021 Oregon Transportation Commission 355 Capitol Street, NE MS 11 Salem, Oregon 97301   Dear Chair Van Brocklin and members of the Oregon Transportation Commission: Our organizations write this letter as communities around the state are reporting dozens of deaths in the wake of a record-breaking heatwave while preparing for another summer and fall of destructive wildfires. Climate change is already bringing enormous human suffering to Oregon. Transportation systems have been disrupted. The consensus among experts is that the chaos and destruction of global warming will bring far worse. Transportation-related ...

Buying a car? Go electric!

Are you considering buying a car? This is a great time to consider your electric options! Before we even get started, though, we have to ask you a tough question. Depending on where you live, do you really need a car? At Oregon Environmental Council we know that we won’t reach our climate and equity goals if we don’t reduce the number of cars on the road or how many miles they are driving, so we will always encourage you to take the time to think about whether you can meet at least some of your transportation needs without a car. (Hint: electric bikes can make a terrific car substitute!) If you really need a car, read on! Why buy (or ...

Take Action for Climate-Friendly Transportation

Show up to these community listening sessions for the Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities Rulemaking to help Oregon meet its climate goals.