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Fully charged! Electric vehicle policy updates

Newsletter
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has been working hard behind the scenes to help make electric vehicles (EV) more attainable and charging more accessible to all Portlanders. PBOT is bringing a proposal to City council to enable companies to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way.
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PBOT logo with words "electric vehicles" and a lightning bolt underneath

Fully Charged! Electric Vehicle Policy Updates

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has been working hard behind the scenes to help make electric vehicles (EV) more attainable and charging more accessible to all Portlanders. In this first newsletter you can check out these policy updates and opportunities to be involved! 

For more information PBOT's EV charging work, please visit our website: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/electric-vehicles

PBOT's Electric Vehicle Charging in the Right-of-Way project is going to Council on Wednesday

PBOT is bringing a proposal to City Council this Wednesday, Feb. 22, to enable companies to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way. This proposal would allow EV charging companies and utilities to install Level 2 (medium-speed) chargers in Centers where growth in apartments and commercial development is expected. These chargers will either be installed on a free-standing pedestal or mounted on poles, and all adjacent parking spaces will be designated as “EV charging only.” 

This proposal is aimed at making EV charging accessible for all Portlanders – especially those that currently live in multi-unit dwellings with no access to charging.  

EV charger curbside in SE Portland

Where will the EV chargers be installed?

EV chargers will be allowed in the public right-of-way in designated Centers across this City, with the exception of the Central City. Centers include large areas, like Gateway Regional Center, and Town Centers like Hollywood, Lents, and St. Johns and Neighborhood Centers like Roseway, Montavilla, and Woodstock and more. A map of Portland's designated Centers can be seen here. At this time, no chargers will be allowed in the Central City since that area already has over one-third of the total public chargers in the city, including options like PGE's Electric Avenue or charging in public parking garages, like Smart Park.

Within Centers, chargers must be installed on Local Service Traffic Streets, meaning that they will be installed "around the corner" from main streets like SE Hawthorne Boulevard or N Mississippi Avenue. Chargers will also need to comply with a comprehensive set of clearance and accessibility requirements.

There are many existing public EV chargers in Portland, and this policy is expected to fill and expand that network.

Who will install and maintain the EV chargers?

If approved, these new regulations will allow EV charging companies and utilities to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way, which means they will be located curbside in the planting strip between the sidewalk and the street. EV charging companies or utilities will need City permits to install EV chargers, and they will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the EV chargers.

At this time, only utilities and charging companies that meet City requirements will be allowed to install EV chargers in the public right-of-way, not businesses, private groups, or individual residents. There are several factors that contributed to this decision, including health, life, and safety issues, liability concerns; and, state utility location requirements, among others. Additionally, private citizens are generally prohibited from installing infrastructure for their private use in the public right-of-way, which could essentially privatize a public space. Having private assets in a public space also raises several difficult policy questions, including who is responsible for the asset if the owner relocates. 

When will EV chargers start to be installed?

If approved, City Council will direct PBOT to implement the Code updates by negotiating agreements with EV charging companies and utilities and finalizing the permit process.  

Installations of EV chargers could begin later this year and there will be a public notification process prior to any installations. 

How you can get involved

The Ordinance for the EV Charging in the Right-of-Way Code Project is going to Council for a first reading on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 10:15 a.m. Code changes like this require two readings. The PBOT staff presentation and public testimony will occur at the first reading while the vote will happen at the second reading, expected to be on Wednesday, Mar. 1. Once Code updates are in effect, PBOT will begin the rulemaking process to update the relevant Administrative Rules. 

If you are interested in providing verbal or written testimony, please visit Engage with City Council to learn more. 

To watch a broadcast of the City Council meeting, you can stream on the City's YouTube channel, eGov PDX.

For more information on this project and PBOT's other work on EV charging, please visit our website: https://www.portland.gov/transportation/electric-vehicles


Related Electric Vehicle News

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability's EV Ready Code Project was approved by City Council last month

BPS brought a proposal to City Council to require newly built multi-family housing with five or more apartments and onsite parking to include conduits and electrical capacity to install EV charging stations in the future.  The proposal was approved five yes votes to zero no votes and widely celebrated.

The EV Ready Code Project is aimed at making EV charging easier for renters and others in apartments, particularly low-income residents and people of color, which will hopefully make owning an EV easier as well.  

EV charger at multi-unit dwelling

Attend ODOT's Open House on EV Charging along the I-205 Corridor

Did you know that new EV chargers will be installed along I-205 and I-405 as part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law?

To help make that happen, PBOT collaborated closely with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) by writing the applications to designate I-205 and I-405 as Alternative Fuel Corridors. This designation means that federal funds from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program will be directed to both corridors.

Preparations for work along the I-205 corridor has already begun, and now is the time to get involved! The I-205 corridor stretches from Parkrose in the North, past Gateway, Montavilla, and the Jade District and runs past Lents as it heads South out of town. PBOT appreciates the opportunity to work with ODOT to bring charging stations neighborhoods along I-205. 

You can learn more about the project at ODOT's Open House webpage then take the online survey and attend community meetings to provide your thoughts. 

map of Portland highways with I-205 highlighted

New federal tax credits and state rebates are making EVs more affordable

If you’re on the fence about going electric – now is the moment! The new federal tax credits for electric vehicles went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. You could receive up to $7,500 in federal tax credits on top of the up to $7,500 in rebates that Oregonians can already receive. 

Electric vehicle plugged in

Questions or Comments?

Contact PBOT Planner Hannah Morrison

hannah.morrison@portlandoregon…

(503) 504-8758

Project Website:

www.portland.gov/transportation/electric-vehicles