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The new public DC fast charger will be installed in the historic Riverfront District.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF ST. HELENS - Columbia River PUD workers installing an electric vehicle charging station in St. Helens. St. Helens will soon be welcoming a second charging station for electric vehicles.

The historic St. Helens Riverfront District will soon sport a public DC fast charger, which will be installed thanks to a partnership between St. Helens and the Columbia River People's Utility District.

The charging station will be installed in the free public parking lot behind 231 S. First St.

A St. Helens news release explained: "In recent years, Columbia River PUD has seen a growing demand for EV charging stations in the district's service territory and has been working to build the infrastructure for this new transportation need."

Kyle Boggs, community and public relations specialist for the public utility district, said, "We're just trying to help get more EV charging infrastructure in the area for both the local residents who live here, and want to have another option aside from at-home charging, and for those who are coming into the area from out of town."

About a year ago, a Level 2 EV charging station was installed at the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn in St. Helens. That unit provides a slower charge for electric vehicles.

The new DC fast charger will be the first in St. Helens and will be able to charge a vehicle much quicker.

"It's more than twice as fast," Boggs said, noting that he Columbia River PUD offices in Deer Island also boast both of these charging station options.

City officials say the new charger in St. Helens will be installed at no cost to PUD customers, thanks in part to the PUD's participation in Oregon's Clean Fuels Program. The city government is assisting with construction.

Columbia River PUD serves nearly all of South Columbia County, including St. Helens. It began participating in the Clean Fuels Program in 2016. Through the program, the PUD receives carbon emission reduction credits from DEQ for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in their service territory.

It's estimated the charger could be completed by the end of this year, but weather could play a factor.

Boggs says the Riverfront District DC fast charger will benefit the community.

"As we see more EVs both in our area and in the state, it provides another option for them to charge while they're out and about," he said. "Then they can go enjoy everything that we have to offer in downtown St. Helens."

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