Community college uses cargo trikes instead of trucks to keep campus quiet

PCC groundskeeper Eric Roberts and his new work truck.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

PCC groundskeeper Eric Roberts and his new work truck.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Human brains tend to work more efficiently in quiet places. For college campuses with many acres of foliage and greenspace to maintain, the use of power tools and motorized vehicles is often at odds with a serene learning environment.

Portland Community College thinks they have an answer: bikes. Or, more specifically, three-wheeled cargo trikes.

On a recent walk past PCC’s Cascade campus in north Portland (on my way to their Biketown bike share station) I met Eric Roberts, one of the school’s groundskeepers. Admittedly it was the bike next to him that first caught my eye: A gorgeous green utility trike made in the USA by Worksman Cycles. “It’s really practical,” Roberts said, as he dug around some weeds. “We’re trying to keep the campus quiet.”


The trike can be pedaled or pushed by hand. Eric says he plans to add a tool rack soon.

The trike that carried a trash barrel and Roberts’ tools was made possible by PCC’s Green Initiative Fund, a grant program created through a 10-cent charge attached to each student’s activity fee. The same fund helped start PCC’s student bike loan program.

PCC Groundskeeper Nate Scott wrote the grant for the trikes. He shared via email that he’s been carfree since 2009 and wanted to find a way to reduce the school’s impact on the environment. “Prior to owning the utility trike our primary mode of transportation was a diesel-powered Kubota RTV [a small tractor],” he wrote. In addition to finding a non-motorized alternative, Scott said he also sees the new trikes as a way to educate students and the public that human-powered vehicles are a viable option and they have more benefits for the community.

Given the success of the trike at the Cascade Campus, Scott reports that PCC has decided to purchase to additional trikes for use at their Southeast and Rock Creek campuses.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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