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Volvo’s First Electric Truck Released to the Public!

Wondering what is to come for the future of electric trucks? Well, Volvo has made electric trucking a present-day phenomenon. With its new unveiling, on Tuesday afternoon, Volvo Trucks didn’t disappoint customers. The company delivered on their promises of functioning electric trucks by 2019. As of Tuesday, the company released its first electric truck to consumers.

One of the companies who purchased the first among Volvo’s electric trucks was Renova. Renova, a waste and recycling company, purchased an electric refuse truck. Meanwhile, another company that capitalized on the new commercial vehicle was DB Shenker.  This truck was not a refuse truck but contrastingly, a distribution truck. The company has yet to leave their reviews of the trucks. The Volvo FL Electric Truck and the Volvo FE Electric Truck are the results of a pre-series. Renova and DB Shenker were among the first to get them. The series was only available to a limited amount of customers for its launch date.  

Why are electric trucks so important?

Interestingly, these Volvo electric trucks scratch the surface on the developments of the trucking industry. It wasn’t too long ago until Tesla released plans of a semi-truck.  The benefits of electric commercial vehicles are substantial. These vehicles, running solely on electric energy, provide great benefits. Battery electric vehicles do not produce pollution, are cheaper to fuel, and they minimize wasted energy. They are also conveniently quiet.

Drivers often revere the trucks’ quick acceleration and lack of noise. It also helps that these trucks are relatively easier to drive than fuel powered cars.

Volvo’s electric vehicles provide a simple solution to the driver shortage. Thus, fewer trucks doing more work. Electric vehicles can usually drive greater distances, perform more efficiently and carry more cargo. Also, the trucks’ ease of difficulty can help bring more people into the trucking trade.

Only time will tell the long-term benefits of Volvo’s electric trucks.

You Can Help Build Self-Driving Trucks in Oregon!

Daimler recently released their first class 8 truck with “level 2” driver’s assistance.  So self-driving trucks are a long way coming. Although, Daimler claims that they’re aiming for the development of a self-driving truck within the decade. As of now, the company plans to hire 200 people in the Portland area, to develop self-driving semi-trucks.

The company is currently searching for engineers and robotics specialists with software programming skills. This “level 4” truck will be the first self-driving truck. Although minimal, the truck will be able to drive itself in certain situations.

Daimler has set aside $570 million for this venture. These trucks reduce the chances for human error. Artificial Intelligence must come a long way for trucks to inherently drive themselves. Although, with this level 4 update, the roads will be significantly safer. It is possible though, for the truck to guide itself on predetermined roads between stops with the help of a watchful human eye.

Even so, technological trucking updates depend on the advancement of technology itself. Unfortunately, trucking technology will level 3 automation because with today’s current technology it isn’t a viable option.

Daimler is one of the reasons trucking technology has advanced to where it is today. Because of their developments with platooning trucks, mass amounts of energy has been saved. Platooning trucks use electronics to pair the truck loads together. This saves both aerodynamics and fuel energy, similar to bicyclists drifting while trying to save energy.

Maybe if you’re looking forward to the development of these self-driving trucks, you can see Daimler testing on Interstate 84 in Oregon!

Students Making Santa’s Nice List in Eugene – Handing out Toys for Tots

The holiday spirit is all around Oregon! High school students in Eugene are experiencing the gift of giving this year. The best part? They gave up part of their Saturday morning to do it. A group of eight students from Willamette Leadership Academy volunteered with the Lane County Toys for Tots program this weekend.

Toys For Tots Volunteers

One of the volunteers, 14-year-old Brighton Robertson, said: “Doing this sort of stuff helps out the community and its’s a nice thing to do. I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it.”

The Marine Toys for Tots has been a highly ranked charity group for years. Every year, they collect new, unwrapped toys and give them out to less fortunate children during Christmas. It has been an extremely successful program throughout the country.

In the Eugene-Springfield area, there were almost 20,000 toys given to families this weekend. This number comes from the Lane County Toys for Tots program. The students from Willamette helped distribute some of this large number of gifts.  

Another one of these student volunteers, 13-year-old Isaiah Alvord, said: “I wanted to volunteer because I knew it would make a lot of children happy and actually have gifts for Christmas, and I just wanted to be a part of that.” He also said that he had experienced a Christmas without gifts in the past.

Children Helping Save Christmas

But, the Lane County Toys for Tots program actually experienced a shortage in donations this year. By mid-December, they have usually received 15,000 toys.

This year, they only had about half that. So, another group of students, these from Madison Middle School, helped out when they found out about this. They donated hand-made model planes to the organization. After that, they helped spread the word about the need for donations.

A program director at Willamette, Kate Klontz, was surprised by how many students signed up to volunteer. She said: “I didn’t make an announcement or anything, I just put the sign-up sheet outside my door and was surprised at how many students were interested. I think it’s important to have the cadets volunteer to give their time to others, but also to get out there in the community and let people know we’re here.”

So, it seems that these students are full of the Christmas spirit this year. And because of them, many children in Eugene got to experience the joy of the season as well!

Don’t let it rain on your Thanksgiving Day Parade…

Winter Weather Arriving

Attention, Oregon residents! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there are multiple things to look out for. First, the weather. This unusually dry November is officially over. Rain and snow are moving in to take its place (but there are still fun Thanksgiving events to look forward to).

According to the National Weather Service in Portland: “A series to frontal systems will bring occasional valley rain and Cascade snow to Western Oregon.” Additionally, “rain is expected to continue into the weekend with heaviest rainfall expected Thanksgiving afternoon.”

eugene blogAt higher elevations, a few inches of snow can be expected as well. This could include Santiam and Willamette passes. There may also be heavier snowfall higher in the ski areas. Forecasters warn: “The first front will move into the area Wednesday. Another stronger front will move into the area on Thanksgiving, bringing rain, gusty winds to the coast and snow to the Cascades.”

So, if you are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, plan accordingly. Winter driving conditions begin now. But, if you’re spending the weekend in Eugene, temperatures are expected to be in the high 40s to low 50s. There will be rain on Thursday.


Eugene’s Thanksgiving Activities

Despite approaching winter-weather, however, Thanksgiving festivities are still underway. For example, Eugene’s annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot! Runners (and walkers) will follow the loop along the Ruth Bascom Trail network, along the banks of the Willamette River. Also, donated dry and canned food products will be brought to FOOD For Lane County!

Meanwhile, during a calm between the storms, check out the Festival of Trees! This is also occurring in Eugene: today through Sunday. This holiday tradition showcases 50+ decorated trees, wreaths, and candy cane forest. The Festival of Trees will lead you into Oregon’s holiday season.

So, rain, snow, or shine, Eugene’s Thanksgiving festivities are sure to please residents and visitors alike. Stay safe and happy Thanksgiving!


Eugene Young People Donate their Blood for the Wellness of the Society

blood pressureEugene blood bank has recently been filled thanks to a mobile app. Bloodworks Northwest is a smartphone app with its headquarter in Seattle that motivates younger generation to support the blood bank through donating blood.

The app is available both for iPhone and Android. The application enables the users to find local blood drives and schedule an appointment for the donation.

The startup has recently announced that the blood bank in Eugene has reached out to millennials.

Bloodworks Northwest covers almost 920 hospitals across the Pacific Northwest. There is a need of collecting 800 units per day to meet the growing demand of the hospitals.

The survey shows that the main blood donors are baby boomers. However, with age their health gets worse, which prevents them from being valid donors. The blood bank needs to be refilled by younger people. However, many millennials are unaware of the process and where they should go for it.

The app was created with the help of Bill Harper, a millennial and University of Oregon graduate who was diagnosed with leukemia at 20 while working on a research project in Africa.

He needed 267 units of blood within the course of his treatment, which took him three years and included 32 surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and, finally, a stem cell transplant. He knows well its significance and hence emphasizes the youngsters’ involvement in the project.

Through strong marketing efforts, Eugene millennials started actively participating in the project and donating their blood to support eh blood bank.

The project owners believe that information should be available and one click away. The sensitiveness of the topic will motivate many people to help their beloved ones and complete strangers.

Donate your blood and give health to people.


Smokey Air in Eugene Forces Indoor Practices and Healthy Warning

Due to the smoke that the air is filled with from distant wildfires, the Millers girls’ soccer team went through drills in the hot but clear air in the Springfield High School’s major gym. The other high school teams around the Willamette Valley are preparing for their upcoming fall seasons. The games include soccer, football, cross country, cheer. They are wither canceled their practices or stayed out of the smoke.

Cliff Shutte, head coach of Springfield High’s girls’ soccer team, said that it is a complete nightmare and inconvenience, as far as you’re trying t pull all fall sports into the same venue.

eugene air qualityThe air quality will likely continue to worsen until winds shift later this week. Eugene schools changed the way they do sports practices, according to the poor air quality.

Southern Willamette Valley air on Tuesday was at a level considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups”. And especially for a team of sports girls. It includes the very young, the very old and those with breathing problems. Northerly winds have been sending smoke into Eugene from fires in Washington and Canada.

Poor air quality on Tuesday forced the wading pool at Emerald Park to close for an hour after It opened.

For many people, the smoke and heat can be hard to escape. The homeless already face the problems during the summer heat. What is more, the smoke and the heat make the situation even worse?

Lane County Public Health has a list of places where residents can find relief from the smoke, such as a local library or community center.

Wildfire smoke last summer caused the worst air quality in decades. The results of the pollution are being shown on its website as its Air Quality Index. Air quality begins to be considered unhealthy, first for sensitive groups, when levels exceed 100.

Schools and other public spaces are keeping a close watch on monitors that count the air pollution degrees.


Eugene City About a New Affordable Housing Project in Downtown

eugene housing projectEugene city officials didn’t have to look far to land a private developer to take the reins of an affordable housing project on the Eugene downtown riverfront.

The Eugene City Council unanimously authorized Monday the sale of a future parcel for $1 to Portland-based Williams & Dame & Associates. There is a condition that it will build at least 75 units of affordable housing on it.

Earlier this month, there was an agreement between the city and developer to partner on a public-private project to transform the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s former operations yard into a new neighborhood complemented with retail and a three-acre community park stretching along the riverfront.

The city initially had agreed to sell the lot to an affordable housing developer, which could have included Williams & Dame or another organization, at some point. But as the talks have continued, Williams & Dame expressed willingness to take on the project to give its investors greater certainty about its direction, Michael Kinnison, the city’s community development director, told city councilors.

“Williams and Dame feel they can ensure that’s done on an expedited timeline of a high-quality design that blends with the rest of the development,” Kinnison said.

A representative of the developer didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Several city councilors and residents had earlier expressed concerns about what they considered too little green space. The council directed city staff members to continue discussions with Williams & Dame to try to secure more parkland.

The project will be either constructed by Williams & Dame itself or in partnership with another organization. The developer, well-known for its projects in Portland, has partnered in the past with BRIDGE Housing Corp., which is a San Francisco-based affordable housing developer.

By buying the land for $1, Williams & Dames agreed to build no fewer than 75 units that are affordable to households earning less than 60% of the area median income, which is $38,460 a year. Monthly rents would be capped initially at $721 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,000 a month for a three-bedroom apartment, based on limits set by the federal government.

Williams & Dame and any partner would need to comply with these incomes and rent limits if they seek to qualify for a federal program that awards income tax credits.

The move by Williams & Dame may have boosted political support for its plan to seek a 10-year property tax waiver under the city’s Multi-unit Property Tax Exemption for the apartments it plans to build. It has not yet applied for the waiver.

To qualify for MUPTE, a developer either must designate 30% of the units as “workforce housing” with rents at or below 30% of the area median income, or no more than $1,283 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,603 a month for a three-bedroom apartment — or the developer can pay a fee.

Councilor Alan Zelenka said a Williams & Dame MUPTE request would be dead on arrival for him if the developer had zero connection to the affordable housing project.

With Williams & Dame taking the project’s reins, “that at least opens it up for me to consider the MUPTE,” Zelenka said, although he noted he would need more information before deciding.

Oregon Genuise Creates New System: Chargeway for Electric Cars

ChargewayA Portland-based man, Matt Teske, has addressed some of the issues that come with owning an electric vehicle, which is why he created Chargeway.


Chargeway is a structure of graphics about electric car charging that basically makes it easy to read and understand for people who own and drive electric vehicles.


Teske is a graphic designer, marketing expert, and an electric car advocate. He claims that a lot of electric car owners are usually confused and have a hard time absorbing all the information they need to know about their cars.


The electric car market is not doing as well as it’s supposed to and that’s because both the sellers and buyers are not keeping up with all the new updates of electric vehicles since it is a lot to absorb.


It’s the fact that not everyone has become familiar with these cars, so they choose to stick to what they know.


However, with Teske’s new creation, Chargeway, it will be much easier for people to know everything they need to about their electric vehicle.


He has organized all the information in difference colors and numbers to simplify everything for buyers and owners.


Even though engineers understand and know everything about electric cars better than most people, regular buyers and owners do not.


With his system, sellers and consumers can now understand everything very quickly which will help them make a decision faster.


Chargeway is also an app that can be downloaded on your phone for convenience. With it, electric car drivers will be able to locate charging stations around the city for their cars, without knowing the terminology or ratings of the different charging criteria.


Sales representatives can now understand “electric fuel” better to explain the charging of these cars to consumers with no hesitation.


Companies can now also explain the difference between liquid hydrocarbons and plug electricity for vehicles.


Charging networks will be able to use the labeling system that consumers will use to understand electric-car charging easier than ever.


According to Green Car Reports, Teske’s system is receiving lots of attention from investors. Oregon’s DOT will also start using Chargeway later this year as well.


He has created the ultimate solution to get people to understand and purchase electric cars.



Oregon’s New License Requirement Blocks Uber’s Return in State

oregon uber returnUber says a rule that its drivers must have a valid Oregon driver’s license represents a major sticking point threatening its return to the Eugene-Springfield area.


In a joint letter, Uber and Lyft raised objections to proposed ride-hailing rules Eugene city officials drafted and put out for public review earlier this month. Once the rules are adopted the companies could apply for an operating license.


The letter doesn’t specify the proposed rule or rules that Uber and Lyft find objectionable. But in an interview, Friday, Nathan Hambley, an Uber spokesman, said the Oregon license requirement is a major concern. A Lyft representative couldn’t be reached for comment, and it’s unclear if that company shares the same concern.


Hambley said the requirement removes a large candidate pool of drivers who are students at the University of Oregon. He said no other Oregon city has such a requirement.


Lindsay Selser, a city spokeswoman, said the requirement ensures the city, through a contract with the state Driver & Motor Vehicle Services, gets notified whenever any licensed driver is cited or arrested for an offense such as drunk driving.


The city “would not receive a similar notification for an out-of-state driver’s license, which poses a significant safety concern,” she said. “Notably, many other jurisdictions require in-state driver’s licenses for (ride-hailing) drivers, such as the entire state of California.”


Under the long-standing requirement, a candidate driver must present a valid Oregon driver’s license when applying for a driver certification to work as a for-hire driver in the community. The city would have the authority to revoke the license for driving violations.


Selser said city staff will review all the comments, as is standard practice, and may make changes to the rules before they’re adopted.


“We continue to be hopeful we will reach a solution that works well for all while maintaining important community safety standards,” she said.


The letter came in response to the city’s proposed rule changes that officials put out for public review and comment. The city has received 78 comments as of Friday. The deadline is June 29.


Even if the city were to remove the licensing requirement, Hembley said Uber would need to review the adopted rules before making a decision to apply to resume operations in the Eugene-Springfield area. The city of Eugene would manage the permitting process for ride-hailing companies that also operate in Springfield.


Uber had operated in the Eugene-Springfield area for less than a year before it suspended operations in April 2015. At the time, a city hearings official ruled that the company must secure a vehicle-for-hire license to continue operating in Eugene. To settle a lawsuit filed by the city, Uber then agreed not to resume service in Eugene without securing that license.


Important to mention that Lyft has never operated in the Eugene-Springfield area.


In April, Eugene city councilors changed the ordinance to ease the requirements to help lure back the ride-hailing companies while seeking to protect public safety and maintain the same rules that apply to taxi companies. The city is taking public comment before adopting the rules.


The changes came after intense lobbying by Eugene’s tech and business sectors whose representatives said the ride-hailing companies provide an important transportation alternative for visitors.


Is Killing Sea Lions Fair to Protect Fish From Going Extinct in Oregon?

OregonIn the town of Astoria, Oregon lots of sea lions come from California annually and attract tourists. Even though tourists love seeing them near the shore, the locals are fed up from the sea lions.


Officials have tried using a variety of obstacles that might try to cause the sea lions to leave, but nothing seems to scare them off. Even though the sea lions are lawfully protected, Oregon authorities are trying to get permission to be able to kill them.


According to Oregon marine biologists, Winter Steelheads will soon start to go extinct and the sea lions are the cause. They feed on Winter Steelheads at Willamette Falls. If they do receive permission to be able to kill the sea lions, they would be allowed to kill about 92 sea lions annually.


In the 70s, the population of sea lions was lower than 90,000. However, over the last few years, their population has grown up to 300,000.


Oregon veterinarians argue that being allowed to kill some of the sea lions will help protect the Winter Steelheads from going extinct. A large number of sea lions feed on these fish every year. The fish are very outnumbered.


California sea lions swim up North during the month of September. They stay in Oregon until the month of May. From the coasts of Oregon, they swim to Willamette Falls to feed on the fish. Even though they are marine animals, they have adapted to swimming in freshwater.


Over the past few years, the number of fish that were making it over the falls was over 15,000. However, this past winter, only 1,000 of the fish made it to over the falls according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.


25% of the fish were eaten by sea lions.


The sea lions also feed on Salmon and other fish in the Columbia River with low population numbers.


Officials tried to capture sea lions while they were bathing, transported them further away from their location and then freed them, but it did not seem to stop the sea lions from going back and feeding on the fish.


Humane Society Marine Wildlife believes that this is an “endless and ineffective treadmill of death.”


Oregon authorities only want the protection of the sacred fish in the falls, however, killing sea lions in order to protect the fish does not seem like the best plan to the government.