Portland, OR, Most Sustainable

An editor recently forwarded the results of the Sustain Lane 2008 U.S. City Rankings, asking me to please not gloat about the fact that the city I’ve lived in — and loved — since 2001 is the most sustainable city in the nation. Whatever, dude! We’re number one! Although the easy-to-read dartboard design makes it obvious how well Portland scored in a variety of categories, I’ll run down a few of our car-related kudos for those who are unaware of our awesomeness.

  • Curbside EV Charging. The local electric utility company, PGE, just this summer began installing curbisde charging stations in the Portland metro area. Right now, there’s a total of two of the new EV chargers, but most other cities don’t even have a plan yet (though Boulder is one-upping us with its vehicle-to-grid system).
  • A chain of EV dealerships. So it’s only a chain of two. EcoMotion has been one of the top sellers of ZAP vehicles in the country — and its been open for just a year. The shiny, new EVs are out front, but the back room holds a trove of used high-mileage, low-emissions SmartWay-certified used cars.
  • The OEVA. The Oregon Electric Vehicle Association, part of the national EVA, is active in the area. The offer assistance to those who want to buy electric or convert a car on their own, and they have a presence at almost every green event in town — and there are a lot of those.
  • The MAX. While Seattle was building the famed, and failed, monorail system, Portland was laying down tracks for light rail. The latest completed addition, the Yellow Line, finished early and under budget. More light rail connections are being built as we speak.
  • Bikes everywhere. Portland has miles and miles of bikeable streets, with designated bike lanes, for the thousands of people who commute using pedal power. Any bike shop has a map of bikeable routes available, and people are even stretching their biking season into the first rainy months of the year.

Okay, PDX is not perfect. There are some safety issues on MAX, especially in the suburbs, and there are notorious and sometimes violent clashes between drivers and bikers almost every month. But there are also a lot of good green car things about Portland that I didn’t even mention, like its bid to build an electric car factory in the future, or the fun and inclusive scooter scene.

I’m done gloating. Check out the rest of the sustainability rankings to find your city. If it’s low on the list — or not on it at all — get moving. Every location on here can always do better. Even Portland.

Photo by Doug Geisler.

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  1. CelticSolar’s avatar

    Great story. I like the fun attitude. We’re #1!

  2. Trackback from Jack on October 31, 2008 at 1:42 pm