HILLSBORO - Thanks to a large grant from the Portland General Electric (PGE) Drive Change Fund , Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center was able to replace their two 2015 gas-guzzling vans with two 2020 Nissan Leaf electric cars. They were also able to add an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot of the McMinnville Clinic. The EV station, installed in August, is free and available to the public.
Ninety-eight percent of Virginia Garcia’s 52,300 patients are low income and lack reliable transportation, making it difficult for them to get to work, grocery shop or access health care when needed. The electric vehicles provided by the Drive Change Fund allow Virginia Garcia to safely transport patients from Virginia Garcia’s clinics in Beaverton, Cornelius, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Newberg and McMinnville as well as provide other critical services such as transporting medical supplies between clinics and to their CoRe (Covid Response) Team, utilizing the mobile clinic to provide free COVID-19 screening services to the community throughout Washington and Yamhill counties. During COVID-19, the cars were also used to transport food and basic necessities to homebound patients quarantined due to the virus.
Dan Janosec, Grants Manager at PGE, said, “Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center is an exemplary partner in putting people first and using electric transportation to serve communities most in need. These new electric vehicles will serve patients not only by delivering medical services and food but also by improving environmental health and therefore positively impacting personal health. We celebrate this milestone and thank them for all they do for our communities.”
The PGE Drive Change Fund EVs, funded by the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, will continue to assist Virginia Garcia in ensuring access to health care with a smaller carbon footprint while also improving air quality for the health of our communities.