Time to wine down the Oregon Electric Byway

By Gaby Diaz
Emerging Leaders Board

I remember driving west into the Columbia River Gorge for the first time and having to pull over because I was so overwhelmed by the sight. The sun was setting, and the river sparkled and danced its way in between the steep walls of massive green trees. As the valley twisted left, it appeared to go straight on to the ocean. I knew I had moved somewhere special after that unforgettable moment.

In the seven years since that drive from Colorado to Oregon, I’ve been fortunate enough to explore other iconic places such as the Wallowa Mountains, Crater Lake, and the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument. Being able to access these public lands is essential to me, and without owning a car, it can be challenging. Luckily, Oregon recognizes the value of getting outside and recreating and has taken the lead on creating sustainable transportation options across the state, especially with electric vehicles, also known as EVs or electric cars.

Last month, I had the opportunity to learn more about electric cars in Oregon and their role in connecting communities, local businesses, and climate change mitigation. Portland hosts one of the largest electric-car conferences in the country, called the EV Roadmap. The conference highlights ‘electric and smart mobility.’

Folks from all over the world attend this conference to learn about how their businesses, organizations, and transportation infrastructure can incorporate electric cars and transition from a fossil-fuel car market  to a renewable one. In true Oregon fashion, I got to experience an EV wine tour and learn about the future of sustainable transportation.

Our wine tour started on Electric Avenue in downtown Portland, a charging station site established by PGE at the base of the World Trade Center. We were greeted by Travel Oregon’s destination development team, who gave us the low-down on electric cars.

Compared to standard gas-guzzling vehicles, electric cars are cheaper to own, easy to maintain, produce zero tailpipe emissions, and are becoming more efficient each year. The BYD bus we traveled on that day could hold a 145 mile charge – that’s a hearty battery!


The real challenge is the infrastructure. Within the Portland-metro area alone there are over 400 charging stations, and across the state there are over 1,000 stations. A good chunk of these dot the Oregon Electric Byway. The byway is a network of charging stations that stretch over 2,200 miles of western Oregon and are conveniently located at hotels, breweries, wineries, and restaurants, so while you wait for your car to charge, you can enjoy all that place has to offer.

We did a portion of the Oregon Electric Byway called the Wine Country Byway. Our first stop was Stoller Vineyards in Dayton, the first winery in the country certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold. The wine samples and cheese were fabulous and the view of Mt. Hood was incredible. Stoller is one of ten wineries on the themed byway that are committed to promoting sustainable transportation and business practices.

We later stopped at Winderlea in Dundee, which was the first winery to install an EV charging station in the state. Owners Bill Sweat and Donna Morris greeted us and  spoke about why they wanted to be a part of the Wine Country Byway. It started with visionary Portland architect Ernie Munch, who lead the city in transitioning to sustainable infrastructure and architecture. A friend of Sweat and Morris, Munch encouraged them to develop their winery in the same vein.

“It was the right thing to do,” Sweat said. They also received an incentive from Ecotrust, a Portland-based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity, and environmental well-being, to help build solar panels on the property. The monetary support covered part of the cost to install an electric-car charging station, and it provided a head start for the rest of the business’ EV infrastructure.

Having a charging station at their business also provided Sweat  and Morris the opportunity to tap into EV marketing across the state and country. You can find their information on the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Electric Byways, and Tesla websites.

As we made our way back to Portland, I couldn’t help but think that electric carss have an essential role in our transportation future. As we grow in population, so does the need to source renewable energy and find creative solutions that benefit us and the planet. Electric cars are a part of that solution, and as a state, we have an opportunity to show the rest of the world how it’s done.

Gaby serves as a member of Oregon Environmental Council’s Emerging Leaders Board. She is also the Office and Event Manager for Oregon Wild where she works to bring people together over the love of wildlife and wild places. Outside of the office you’ll find Gaby making jewelry, watching a movie at the Hollywood Theatre, or out on the trail with her dog Lacey.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Water News Featured Toxics-Free Environments Toxic Free Priorities Transportation Solutions Air Quality Climate Protection OEC News/Updates/Events Water Action Policy Media/PR/Statements
Sort by

Oregon Health Authority Wrestles With Commitment to Transparency

At the most recent meeting of
October 10, 2019, 8:33 pm


Protect Oregon’s drinking water from toxic PFAS: Ask Congressman Walden to designate PFAS as a “hazardous chemical”

Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a category of hazardous chemicals that are currently designated as “contaminants” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  To protect human health, Congress must designate PFAS as hazardous chemicals, which
August 26, 2019, 5:53 pm


Oregon Legislature Passes Bill To Curb Toxic Diesel Exhaust

Senate Passes Bill to Protect Oregonians from Diesel Pollution
June 30, 2019, 9:06 pm


Oregon House Votes to Curb Diesel Pollution

Old dirty diesel engines may soon be on their way out SALEM — Diesel
June 21, 2019, 10:21 pm


Oregon House of Representatives’ adoption of HB 2020 sends legislation to Senate

OEC applauds the continued progress to climate history SALEM — Oregon’s House of Representatives continued h
June 18, 2019, 3:26 am


Oregon’s landmark climate bill moves toward Ways and Means, historic action

Natural Resources subcommittee OKs HB 2020 after amendment FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 5, 2019
June 6, 2019, 3:32 am


Oregon Lawmakers Take Action Against White House Attacks on Environmental Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 15, 2019 PORTLAND, OR – The Environmental Protection Act (HB 2250) has passed the Senate and is headed to the desk of Gov. Kate Brown. HB 2250 ensures that Oregon’s s
May 15, 2019, 8:24 am


No Replies to "Time to wine down the Oregon Electric Byway"

    Got something to say?

    Some html is OK