A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A vehicle-charging station for downtown

Written July 5th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The charging station is being built in the city-owned lot behind the J.C. Penney Building.

If you have an electric car, pretty soon you’ll be able to park it in downtown Albany and charge the batteries — unless somebody else has had the same idea and got there first. In which case you’d have to wait your turn.

In a project initiated by CARA, the downtown urban renewal district, contractors have been working to install a fast-charging station for electric vehicles in the parking lot behind the J.C. Penney Building.

The city-owned lot faces Water Avenue between Broadalbin and Ferry Streets. I noticed the yellow tape surrounding the site on a recent jaunt along my favorite bike route along the riverfront.

While’s it’s a CARA project, there’s no direct cost to the city. Pacific Power is paying for it with a $63,548 grant.

The charging station was the idea of Sophie Dykast, the city’s economic development coordinator. The CARA advisory board agreed to let her pursue it two years ago. She arranged for the funding under Pacific Power’s grant program for electric vehicle charging stations, and the Albany Revitalization Agency, CARA’s governing body, accepted the grant in May 2020.

Pacific surveyed downtown parking lots for a suitable location and settled on the site of an existing ground-level transformer in the public lot behind the old Penney’s.

There will be just one quick-charge station, but with multiple connectors for various makes and models. The facility is being wired with extra conduits so additional charging stations can be added later.

This will be a public station. Users will pay a fee to cover the cost of electricity and maintenance.

CARA sees the venture as fitting its mission, the revitalization and economic enhancement of the central part of town. (hh)

A notice at the site says two contractors, Durst Energy and Cherry City Electric, are involved in the installation.

6 responses to “A vehicle-charging station for downtown”

  1. Bill Maddy says:

    For those of us who are long time Albany residents, the building you mentioned as the J.C. Penney building is really the “Wallace Building”. The building even has signage with both names. The Wallace Building replaced the Hamilton building that was destroyed by fire. The J.C. Penney business moved into the Wallace Building. Even when the J.C. Penney business moved out to the Heritage Mall, the building is still known by many as the J.C. Penney building. Historically and technically the building is the Wallace Building.

  2. hj.anony1 says:

    Just ONE?!

    Short sighted to say the least.

    I shake my head. Wal-Mart of all places has more than one. LOL

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Wal mart has more customers than downtown Albany.

  3. Nick says:

    That’s a good start. Well done Sophie Dykast and CARA and thank you Pacific Power for the funding.

  4. George Pugh says:

    Curious George would like to know how the price of electricity at a public charging station compares to charging at an electric car owner’s home , per KW or . . . ?

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    How much rent is the City going to get for allowing a commercial entity to use OUR land?


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