The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
the Times 

Grant funding provides car charging station

Pacific Power & Light funded electric vehicle station near Preston Park


Beka Compton

WAITSBURG-Electric and hybrid cars continue to grow in popularity. The City of Waitsburg recently embraced this growth, and in early February, City Administrator Randy Hinchliffe oversaw the installation of a public-access electric vehicle (EV) charging station at the city shop.

"My goal was to give people traveling through the city another reason to stop," said Hinchliffe. "With more and more electric cars on the road, I thought a charging station between the Tri-Cities and Clarkston was a good idea." The EV charging station is conveniently situated across the street from Preston Park; an already popular rest area for people passing through.

Hinchliffe said the charging station idea has been on the drawing board for a couple of years, and pursued the idea after he heard about grant programs through Pacific Power and Light (PP&L). The Charging Station Grants, offered to non-residential customers, provides selected commercial customers an opportunity to encourage environmentally friendly options.

The City of Waitsburg was awarded roughly $9,000 in grant money in late 2019, which covered the cost of the SemaConnect charging station and installation. The original plan was to have a free-standing station near the north end of Main Street but without a transformer available the station needed to be relocated. Site evaluations through PP&L and Walla Walla Electric decided the best approach was a wall-mounted station attached to the city shop.

"Installing it by the park ended up being the best option since a lot of travelers stop to use the restroom or stretch at the park," Hinchliffe said. "I thought it might result in more people walking downtown to get coffee or look at the art."

Due to technical difficulties the station is currently set up to work without a fee. The City is working with the manufacturer to get a replacement station. Once the replacement is installed, there will be a small fee of $1 per hour of charging use.


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