Oregon House Representative Karin Power (D-41 Milwaukie) knows how transformative electric bikes can be; but she also knows how expensive they are for some buyers. That’s because she recently bought one herself.
When Rep. Power purchased her Tern GSD last fall, we made it front page news. Central to her story is that she was able to get a loan from a local credit union to help make the purchase from Portland’s Splendid Cycles a bit easier. “Making healthier choices doesn’t mean you have to break the bank,” she wrote on Instagram.
Now she wants to expand that choice to all Oregonians.
This morning Rep. Power said she plans to propose a bill in the 2023 session that would make it easier on pocketbooks to buy an e-bike. We’ve heard murmurs about some type of e-bike subsidy bill for years, and Power confirmed it via Twitter this morning.
Asked for a comment today, Rep. Power said after her purchase last fall, she and staff met with local bike shop owners and statewide EV nonprofit Forth “to get feedback about the federal proposal and figure out what attributes about an e-bike incentive would be most helpful/important.” She added that she’s focused on the short session at the moment, but we can expect the bill next session.
Rep. Power might have strong support from fellow representative Khanh Pham (D-46 Portland). She hasn’t agreed to support any bill yet, but is very open to the idea.
You might recall our podcast episode last week when I asked Rep Power’s fellow legislator Rep. Khanh Pham how bike advocates could give cycling more political punch. “We need to make biking more accessible to ordinary people,” she replied. “I think people need to be given the subsidies, the tools, the incentives to be able to try it out so it’s not seen as kind of a privileged mode of transportation.”
Beyond their shared commitments to climate-friendly and equitable transportation modes, representatives Pham and Power also have some of the political sway it will take to sponsor and shepherd a bill like this through the legislature. Both sit on the powerful, 13-member Joint Committee on Transportation (although a financial bill isn’t likely to be heard in that committee).
As we shared last month, e-bike incentive and subsidy programs are spreading nationwide, but Oregon — despite doubling-down on e-car purchase incentives — has yet to join the party.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with this issue. Stay tuned!
CORRECTION, 3:55 pm: This story originally stated that Rep. Power received a loan from Splendid Cycles to pay for her bike. That was wrong. She got the loan from a local credit union. Sorry for any confusion.