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The charging station, open to the public, is at Best Western Oak Meadows Inn in St. Helens

PMG: SCOTT KEITHJ - Electric vehicle charging station installed at the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn.Electric vehicle owners in St. Helens will find life a bit easier to navigate with the announcement from the Columbia River Public Utility District that the first charging station in St. Helens has been installed at the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn.

According to the PUD, the Level 2 charger has the ability to charge two electric vehicles simultaneously and is available for use by the public.

Kyle Boggs, spokesperson for Columbia River PUD, said, "We installed some chargers at our office in Deer Island last year — we're just trying to grow that infrastructure to have it more readily available and as EVs become more popular."

Boggs added, "We're working to try and figure out places where we can put in more around St. Helens and throughout the county."

Boggs would like to see some DC-Fast charging stations that would be able to deliver a charge to 80% capacity in 30 to 60 minutes. With PUD's current rates, the cost would be between $3 and $6.

Fast charging is available in the parking lot of Fred Meyer in Scappoose, but not yet in St. Helens.

So far, no additional charging stations have been announced for St. Helens.

"One area we talked about doing is trying to find a spot down in Old Town, (near) the waterfront area in St. Helens," Boggs said. "We don't have anything official in place at this point."

The PUD said the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn charging station was installed at no cost to customers. It was partially paid for by carbon emission reduction credits through Oregon's clean fuels program.

Credits, as district officials noted, can be traded or sold on the carbon marketplace. The PUD used funds from selling these credits to purchase and install the EV charger.

It's estimated there are 223 electric vehicles registered in the PUD's service territory, according to Boggs.

The Columbia River PUD serves a swath of Columbia County from rural Rainier south to the Multnomah County line, also providing power to a handful of Multnomah Channel marinas just across the county line.

At the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn in St. Helens, electric vehicle drivers will need to download the ChargePoint app or have a ChargePoint card.

The Level 2 charger takes about six to eight hours for a full charge.


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