Pacific Power, economic development officials and local e-bike dealers have joined forces to put e-bikes in the hands of low-income residents in the Corvallis area.
Pacific Power provided a $60,000 grant to the Corvallis/Benton County Economic Development Office, which reviews applications and works with bike shops.
Benton County residents who qualify for the program receive $1,200 towards the purchase of an electric bicycle and accessories at Bike N Hike, Corvallis Cyclery, Corvallis Electric Bicycles and the Peak Sports Bike Shop.
“We’ve had a really positive response to this program,” said Kathryn Duvall of the Economic Development Office. “Many candidates have expressed their enthusiasm for this opportunity and they love that the city is doing something innovative like this. It’s a win-win situation for the city and community members of Benton County as we strive to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by promoting and improving electric and alternative mobility as an option over travel by car in our region.
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So far, Duvall said, seven people have used the discounts to buy bikes. The total would have been much higher, Duvall and the bike shop owners said, had it not been for the COVID-related supply chain issues.
Larry Desaulniers of Peak Sports said he handled a sale and had a bike on order for a program customer.
“It’s a great program,” he said, but added “it can be difficult to get bikes on the West Coast.”
The process proved easy for Desaulniers and his staff. Program customers can choose their bike shop and Desaulniers only has to invoice the amount of the rebate to the economic development office to complete the transaction.
E-bikes start at around $2,000 and can go up to $16,000 for high-end off-road models.
Duvall said the economic development office hopes to fund at least 50 bikes by the end of the program.
Pacific Power has awarded 11 grants totaling more than $1.3 million, said Kathleen Hawley, senior product manager for electric vehicles. The Corvallis program is the only program in the middle valley. The money comes from Oregon’s clean fuels program.
The main goals of the program, Hawley said, were to ensure that underserved and rural communities can also enjoy the benefits of clean, healthy and low-cost electric transport. Clean transportation projects are also a catalyst for growth and vitality in all regions of Oregon. and that these investments go far beyond automobiles.
Duvall said “we will be accepting new requests soon, but it will depend on local supply. That’s one of the reasons we’re rolling out discounts slowly – to give current winners time to find and buy a bike before we put more people on the market.