The first public electric vehicle (EV) charging station in St. Helens is now available for use.

EV Charging Station

Columbia River PUD Board Member Craig Melton, PUD General Manager Michael Sykes, St. Helens Mayor Rick Scholl, and PUD Board Member Jake Carter at the new EV Charging Station at the Best Western in St. Helens.

Columbia River PUD has installed a Level 2 EV Charging Station at the Best Western Oaks Inn at 585 S. Columbia River Highway in St. Helens. The charger has the capability to charge two EVs simultaneously and is available for use by anyone.

"We felt the need to provide the infrastructure for this growing transportation trend, and to provide opportunities for people visiting our area to charge their electric vehicles," Columbia River PUD Board Member Jake Carter said.

As a Level 2 Charging Station, it is best suited for visitors who are spending the night at the hotel, according to a release from the PUD. A full charge typically takes about 6-8 hours using a Level 2 Charger, at a cost of less than $5. Depending on the vehicle, an EV can travel around 250 miles on a full charge.

The PUD is exploring adding DC-Fast Charging Stations elsewhere in St. Helens and Columbia County.

DC-Fast Charging Stations are capable of delivering a charge to 80% capacity in 30-60 minutes. With the PUD's rates, that would cost between $3-6.

The charging station was installed at no cost to PUD customers thanks in part to the PUD's participation in Oregon's Clean Fuels Program. The PUD started its involvement with the Clean Fuels Program in 2016 by signing on to be a credit aggregator. That allows the PUD to receive carbon emission reduction credits from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in the Columbia River PUD service territory.

These credits can be traded or sold on the carbon marketplace. The PUD used funds from selling these credits to purchase and install the EV Charger.

According to the most recent data available from the DEQ, there are 223 EVs registered in the PUD's service territory.

To charge their vehicles at Best Western, EV drivers will need to download the ChargePoint app or have a ChargePoint card.

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