Sponsored by Oregon Business

Oregon: state of green

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Transportation: Growing bikes, trains and electric vehicles

Number of green jobs: 2,640

Oregon, and Portland in particular, have earned a national reputation for promoting innovative approaches to cycling, transit and other low-emission transportation — even in urban landscapes that, like the rest of America, are still dominated by cars.

In 2011 bicycling represented an average of 2.8% of all trips across the Portland metro area, with that figure ranging as high as 9.8% in parts of Portland proper. Bike commuting (trips taken solely for work purposes) more than quadrupled to 4.6% — some 50,000 rides daily — since the survey was last conducted in 1994. Those figures remain meager compared to the city’s goal to make bikes account for a quarter of all trips by 2030, yet Portland is in a leading national position when it comes to bicycles’ share of traffic.

Regional investment in bike infrastructure appears to be paying off. A study released in May by Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism agency, found that bicycle tourism injects $400 million annually into the Oregon economy.

Despite a rash of service cuts and fare increases in the past few years, the state’s predominant transit agency tells a similar story of growth. The agency’s 2011 per-capita ridership was seventh in the nation, despite Portland being the 24th largest metro area in the country. Fourth-quarter 2012 data from the American Public Transportation Association confirms TriMet’s average weekday ridership is comfortably above that of similarly sized cities like Sacramento and San Antonio, and even above much larger metros like San Diego and Houston.

Oregon governments have committed significant resources to expanding transit rail systems, pitching in roughly half the cost of the $148 million extension of the Portland Streetcar and a $745 million investment in the $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie light-rail extension. These efforts, however, faced significant opposition from many residents and public officials disputing the projects’ usefulness.

In other low-carbon transportation, Oregon has assembled significant funding for electric vehicles, including $700,000 in federal stimulus funding and $2 million from a federal TIGER II grant to build an extensive network of fast chargers. More than 2,000 electric vehicles are registered here — up from 400 in 2010 — and only Hawaii has more charging stations per capita. A Northwest Economic Research Center study released in January estimated the state’s electric vehicle industry generates $267 million in gross economic activity and employs more than 400 people.

In Oregon the transportation of people and goods accounts for the largest share of greenhouse-gas emissions — about 38%. But that number is flattening, and not just because the recession caused a reduction in vehicle miles driven, says Angus Duncan, chair of Oregon’s Global Warming Commission. “We’re seeing people drive less and drive more efficient cars.” Duncan notes the state has set a 2050 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 75% below 1990 levels. “We think we have a fighting chance of getting there,” he says. “That’s in part because we expect zero-emission and electric vehicles to be a dominant form of transportation.”

0613 StateOfGreen Table02

0613 StateOfGreen Map02


More Articles

Counterpoint: CLT not as green as people think

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
photo-flickr-glasseyes viewthymbBY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED

The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.


Getting What You Pay For

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A conversation with Chris Maples, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.


Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Child care challenge

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
0927OHSUhealthystarts-thumbBY KIM MOORE AND LINDA BAKER

Child care in Oregon is expensive and hard to find. We delved into the numbers and talked to a few executives and managers about day care costs, accessibility and work-life balance.


Is there life beyond Reed?

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.


Back to School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Oregon is home to an abundance of gritty warehouses reborn as trendy office spaces, as well as crafty hipsters turned entrepreneurs. Does the combination yield an equally bounteous office products sector? Not so much. Occupying the limited desk jockey space are Field Notes, a spinoff of Portland’s Draplin Design Company, and Schuttenworks, known for whittling Apple device stands. For a full complement of keyboard trays, docking stations and mouse pads, check out the GroveMade line, guaranteed to boost the cachet of even the lowliest cubicle drone. 


Downtime with Patrick Criteser

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Live, Work Play with the President and CEO of Tillamook County Creamery Association.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02