As a reporter who covers electric vehicles, I'm surprised how often the topic of Portland, Ore., comes up. Today we published a story that explores why.
The Electric Road Trip passed through Portland last week, and while there, we stopped to charge at the World Trade Center. The name is grandiose for a city that isn't very big. But the charging station is groundbreaking. It's the centerpiece of a regional network of charging stations called Electric Avenue that EV advocates in other cities speak of with envy.
Portland is host to Roadmap, one of the few annual conferences on electric transportation. Experts come from all over, because the focus is on government policies and business strategies from around the country.
Again, it is a scope that seems outsize for a city of fewer than 700,000 people.
There's no obvious reason these things are happening in Portland. A more likely place would be California, which has a bigger and longer love affair with electric cars.
But Portland, which embraces so many quirky things, has in this case backed it with real money and attention. It seems to have a knack for making electric transportation happen.
"You can bring all the stakeholders together in a day, or in a room," said Jeff Allen, the executive director of Forth, the nonprofit that puts on the Roadmap conference. "We're big enough to matter but small enough to get things done."