WOODBURN — Gov. Kate Brown helped ODOT celebrate completion of the crucial Phase 1 upgrades to the West Coast Electric Highway in Oregon on Tuesday with a news conference at an electric vehicle charging station near Interstate 5.
The governor was joined at the Woodburn Transit Facility by ODOT director Kris Strickler; and Ian Vishnevsky, COO/CFO of EVCS, the company that administers the charging stations on the West Coast Electric Highway.
Brown said public–private partnerships will be critical as the state moves quickly to address the effects of climate change.
“This will take all of us working together to create a seamless national network of charging stations that is reliable, affordable, convenient and of course equitable,” Brown said. “I absolutely believe that by working together we can build a better future for Oregon. We certainly have a lot work ahead of us and it’s much better if we do this work together.”
The West Coast Electric Highway, a network of EV charging stations that stretch from British Columbia to southern California, has 44 stations in Oregon along Interstates 5 and 84, and U.S. 101.
Phase 1 upgrades to the network, which wrapped earlier this month, outfitted Oregon’s stations with more charger types and upgraded existing chargers to serve a wider range of electric vehicles, including e-bikes.
EVCS says Phase 2 of their upgrade plan will begin this summer. The company will convert 11 stations to “superstations” that will have even faster charging speeds. Phase 3, which begins this fall, will add three brand-new stations, expanding the network to 47 total stations in Oregon.
“Our goal is to create the most reliable and accessible EV charging infrastructure in the nation,” said Ian Vishnevsky, COO/CFO of EVCS. “EVCS’s collaboration with ODOT to upgrade the West Coast Electric Highway will improve driver confidence in going electric as we seek to combat climate change through our sustainable and accessible charging stations.”
ODOT is contributing $4 million for the project, a mix of state and federal dollars.
ODOT’s support of the West Coast Electric Highway upgrades is part of the agency’s recent $100 million commitment to expand public EV charging infrastructure in Oregon over the next five years. The agency will partner with private firms to place fast-charging stations every 50 miles along major interstates and highways, and bolster charging access for urban, rural, and underserved communities.
Expanding electric vehicle charging opportunities aligns with ODOT’s Strategic Action Plan, which calls for electrifying our transportation system to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and address climate change.