5 Reasons to Book a Charter with ecoShuttle this summer:
1) You want to go on a wine tour with friends, but none of you want to drive, especially after drinking wine all afternoon. Not to mention, ecoShuttle guests receive complimentary wine tastings at Sokol Blosser (which now has a new platinum LEED Certified 5000 sq foot tasting room!) and Rex Hill Wineries
2) You want to ride in a 100% biodiesel bus, instead of a bus that claims to run on biodiesel thanks to a bumper sticker, but is actually just running on 5% biodiesel like every other diesel powered bus in Oregon
3) You don’t know what you’re trying to do, but you need transportation; let our staff assist you in all stages of planning your event transportation—it’s what we do everyday!
4) You need a ride to the airport and no one wants to take you at 3:00am. Hey—we’ll do it! We operate 24-hours a day.
5) Patrick will drive you, and he’s a heckuva guy!
Hi Blog Readers,
The ecoShuttle Blog has taken an extended hiatus due to the fact that we’ve been very busy! We have updated our fleet with some new additions, while some of our old standbys have sadly been retired. One such bus, known fondly as the 17-passenger, has said its last goodbyes after nearly 5 years with ecoShuttle. The 17-passenger was a good, reliable, spirited 450 Ford cut-away shuttle. 17 always had room for luggage, and even went out of its way to accommodate those confined to a wheelchair. 17-passenger; cheers to you, may you rest in peace.
I’ll have specs and pictures of our new additions in next week’s blog.
Moving on, ecoShuttle is happy to support Clean Fuels Now. Clean Fuels Now brings together businesses and forward-thinking Oregonians who support a transition to cleaner, homegrown fuels for the benefit of Oregon’s economy and environment. Like ecoShuttle, Clean Fuels Now is committed to ending the reign of big oil and its devastating effects on our environment and our economic future. Clean Fuels Now is currently working to pro-long legislation passed in 2009 that forced a statewide shift to locally produced, lower-carbon fuels. It would also establish a trading system for fuel suppliers that don’t want to blend in ethanol to invest in green energy instead. If you care about green jobs in Oregon, or about kicking big oil to the curb, it’s worth checking out their website: http://cleanfuelsnow.com/
I’ll be back soon with more ecoShuttle blog action, have a great weekend!
Hello Blog Readers,
Happy Thanksgiving! I always get very excited about Thanksgiving, as it is my favorite holiday. I was browsing ways to save a little money this Thanksgiving, when I came across this fantastic list of ways to make Thanksgiving more cost-effective and more sustainable as well! I didn’t know that nearly 25% of all food prepared for Thanksgiving goes to waste. That’s pretty sad considering there are many people in this country who will be going hungry on Thanksgiving.
Anyways, on to some good news; we have another winner to announce! ecoShuttle held another drawing while we were attending the Bravo Wedding Affair. The winner of our contest for free wedding transportation is Sarah! Congratulations on your upcoming wedding, Sarah, and congratulations on winning the ecoShuttle Free Wedding Transportation Sweepstakes!
Getting back to Thanksgiving, we all know what happens the day after; Black Friday of course! While I personally dislike the idea of Black Friday (and the violence that inevitably ensues), something I can definitely get behind is Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a day where people are encouraged to shop at small, local, brick and mortar stores. Here is a nice little web page promoting the event, complete with shop small map indicating small businesses in your neck of the woods.
That’s all for this week, have a great Thanksgiving!
Happy Friday Blog Readers,
I’m sure everyone is happy to hear that the election is now over. I for one was happy to hear President Obama finally mention climate change while he was delivering his victory speech Tuesday evening. For some reason, climate change has become a partisan issue. This has not always been the case. In 1989, Claudine Schneider, a Republican house member from Rhode Island sponsored a bill called H.R. 1078: The Global Warming Prevention Act of 1989. The bill died in committee, but if you look at the co-sponsors, no less than 27 were Republicans (including Newt Gingrich and Olympia Snowe. Some notable Democratic sponsors include Oregon’s very own Ron Wyden and Peter DeFazio).
At what point did people start downplaying climate change? Well, George H.W. Bush certainly didn’t deny climate change when he signed the U. N. Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. And it wasn’t just President Bush agreeing with this, as the U.S. Senate approved the Framework Convention by unanimous consent. So at this point in 1992, the entire U.S. Senate was onboard.
During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Clinton tried, but was not successful at pushing through the $6.3 billion dollar Initiative on Global Climate Change.
As a presidential candidate in 2000, George W. Bush stated that global warming was an “issue we need to take very seriously.” Of course, after 9/11 and the subsequent recession, the American public became pretty distracted. And then came statements like this from Republican Jim Inhofe (Senate Chairman of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works) on the floor of the Senate in 2003: “I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation’s top climate scientists.” (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2004#TtrendsNational) He cited as support for this the 1992 Heidelberg Appeal and the 1999 Oregon Petition. In his speech, Inhofe also discussed the then current Soon and Baliunas controversy, and said that “satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century.” Inhofe had no problem stating this even though 2003 was the 2nd hottest year in history (2012 was the hottest year on record).
This seemed to be the major turning point where politicians were able to get away with denying climate change without any real scientific evidence (the studies Inhofe used to back up his argument were not peer-reviewed studies and did not reflect the consensus of top climate scientists). Unfortunately, at this point, the wrath of increasingly devastating natural disasters seems to be the only effective way to convince skeptical politicians to buy into the phenomena and hopefully start addressing it. President Obama clearly acknowledges climate change is real and has taken steps to confront the issue, but for the dramatic change we need, he’s going to need help from both political parties to get it done in any serious fashion. Here’s to hoping he gets it done!
Happy Friday Blog Readers,
I hope all of you in the northeast or your family and friends in the northeast were spared the worst of Hurricane Sandy and her destructive wrath. Superstorms of this nature are apparently rare this time of year as by most accounts, hurricane season has wound down by now. The rarity of this situation might lead some to conclude that Hurricane Sandy’s impact has a direct connection to climate change. At this point, I have found that most climate scientists are hesitant to make this connection. So while the jury is still out on this, I believe that the publicity that climate change is receiving in this light is a positive, regardless of whether or not it played any direct role in the events that occurred on the eastern seaboard.
As this fantastic article from Project-Syndicate points out, the long term prognosis on climate change is something we should take quite seriously, and something that definitely needs to be addressed now because its impact is happening now. Like I noted above, scientists don’t have much evidence to suggest that Sandy is a result of climate change, but some of the serious flooding most certainly can be linked to climate change. Take for instance the rise of sea levels on the east coast; those sea levels are rising at a rate 4x the global average. I’m sure if man-made climate change weren’t happening, the flooding in New York’s subways wouldn’t be quite the unprecedented mess that it has been this week.
Bottom line: Putting climate change back in the spotlight is giving scientists a great opportunity to demonstrate the threats that rising sea levels and rising water temperatures will mean for our future and our children’s future, regardless of the link that may or may not exist between Sandy and climate change. It’s time to stop dithering and to look past excuses and start focusing on ways to slow down carbon emissions.
On a lighter note, we just drew the winners for the contest of 6 hours of free wedding transportation from the Committed Wedding Event we recently attended; the winners are Leann Dunlap and James Tristan! They will be getting married on June 26th of 2013, and we’re so excited to be working with them on their big day! Congrats!
Have a safe weekend and stay dry.
Hello Blog Readers,
I’m happy to be back on the blog after being ousted by Fiona! But now I’m back, and first off, I would like to congratulate Jesse and Fiona Yun on the birth of their daughter, Avani, the newest Yun! I would also like to congratulate William Sampson and his wife Elizabeth on their newborn boy, Darwin, as well.
Since I’ve been away from the blog there have been many developments. Something we’ve been talking about around the office here has been the lack of any mention whatsoever on climate change by either presidential candidate. It seems as though the lack of air time it has received has actually resulted in it being discussed possibly more so than if one of them had mentioned it. Here is a great article outlining why the candidates were so keen on not discussing this issue.
And now, looking to the future; if you are planning a wedding for next summer–now is the time to start booking your transportation as weekends in June, July and August book up far in advance. And speaking of weddings, ecoShuttle had a marvelous time at this year’s Committed Wedding Event, Portland’s only indie/alternative wedding event! We were happy to meet hundreds of happy couples as they prepare for their upcoming weddings and look forward to attending again next year.
One last bit of news that I thought was fantastic: Portlanders are driving less! According to statistics, in 1994, about 90% of all commuter trips in the area were by way of automobiles, now that number is down to 81%. Way to go, Portland, keep on biking, and be careful out there!
Have a great weekend!
Hello Pickathoners!!! The pickup area is south of the MAX station parking structure and the eastern-most parking lot from the Mall. Passengers should be waiting under or near the two trees (See image of Jesse below) or the large rock in the lower portion of the parking lot.
If you live in western Oregon (or really anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere), I don’t need to tell you summer is finally here! The gorgeous weather here really makes me feel so lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, particularly when I hear about the plight of family members back home in the Midwest dealing with 100+ degree heat and major power outages.
Recently, my husband and I took a quick trip from Portland to the Hood River area to check out some of the local wineries on the Fruit Loop. Definitely a work trip, research related you know. Since I’m almost 8 months pregnant, I got to be the DD, but that was ok because it turned out there were lots of activities other than wine tasting for me to enjoy-not to mention the fabulous views!
Our first stop was at the Gorge White House and Viento tasting room. The Gorge White House features their own pear wine, as well as wines from vineyards all over the Gorge that might not have the most accessible tasting rooms. They also had a couple of beers they brew on site out for tasting, but hubby thought better not to mix the beer and wine this early in the day. After he tasted we went outside and enjoyed some strawberry and flower picking-okay, I enjoyed the fruit and flower picking-at their U-pick garden. I think their blueberries are probably coming in next, then on to pears, apples, and more. After a good amount of time outside, we stopped into Viento, a winery that has a beautiful tasting room on the property as well. The tasting was a little more formal than inside the White House, though both were thoroughly enjoyable as we got to know about their process and hubby tasted their award winning wines.
Hubby was feeling pretty good at this point, so we took the short trip up Highway 35 to Mt. Hood Winery. The clouds had parted just enough to give us a view of Mt. Hood in it’s majestic glory from their spacious, heavily windowed tasting room. Hubby got a taste of 5 or 6 wines for only $5, and there was a wide variety of wines to choose from as well. The Willamette Valley does an amazing job of producing excellent Pinots, but the Gorge must have a slightly different climate as they were able to produce a wide variety of wines, all good according to hubby (we should note here, that his palate may be slightly compromised after tasting about 17 or 18 wines by now).
After filling ourselves at Mt. Hood Winery (hubby with wine, me with fantastic mountain views), we took a shortcut to Pheasant Valley Winery, Hood River’s first certified organic vineyard. The trip took us down a narrow gravel road, and at first I thought I had taken a majorly wrong turn somewhere. Husband was trying his best at navigating, but at this point, he was getting distracted easily. Finally, we arrived at their pretty little site and I’ll tell you this was definitely somewhere different! The atmosphere in the tasting room was a little more relaxed than the tasting rooms we had just experienced, and the place was packed! Hubby got a great extensive tasting, again for only $5, and we thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth banter with the two tasting room associates on staff. We enjoyed his last taste outside at one of their picnic tables, before heading off for our next stop.
Hubby wasn’t as stoked about this one…but hey, I’m on this trip too! After a short drive through the country, we arrived at Lavender Valley Lavender Farm. Their U-Pick wasn’t quite open yet, so we strolled through the gorgeous lavender filled fields and Hubs took a few pics of the dog and me. I bought myself a couple of lavender plants (I’ve got my own urban farm going, and my theory is the more lavender-the more bees, the more bees-the more fruit/veggies) and we headed off for our last stop on the Fruit Loop tour.
We arrived at Cathedral Ridge just as the winery was finishing their set up for a wedding. I have to admit, after seeing the setup, I was a little jealous that we hadn’t done our wedding here – Totally amazing view, quirky sculpture in the yard, beautiful ceremony setup. The tasting room itself was lovely too, with several medals prominently displayed on their award winning wines. The staff here was so pleasant too. Even though I was getting a little tuckered out, I still completely enjoyed myself talking to the tasting room associates and getting to know about their wines. Hubby enjoyed the whites here, but he’s not a reds kind of guy. Cathedral Ridge was definitely one of our favorite stops of the day.
What trip to Hood River would be complete without a trip to a brewery? Since Cathedral Ridge is so close to downtown HR, we decided to stop at Double Mountain Brewery for dinner. The wait was short but the place was packed! It’s definitely a local favorite-the music was bumping and it reminded me of some of my favorite hangouts in college. (In fact, Hood River reminds me a little of my college’s hometown of Athens, Ohio, but that’s another story.) Food was delicious and it was a perfect end to a gorgeous day out in the Gorge (no pun intended).
After all was said and done, we spent only $20 in tasting fees (Hubs bought a bottle at Pheasant Valley, so his tasting fee was refunded) and had a fabulous afternoon out in Hood River. I thoroughly recommend getting out there sometime this summer to experience the views, the wines, and the brews. If there are more than just a couple of you, why not rent an ecoShuttle for the day and let us be your DD?
Back in June of 2007, ecoShuttle was still in its “idea/planning phase”. At the time, we were working on getting the word out, creating buzz, and getting all our ducks in a row in order to have a successful business. I was busy trying to get us involved with different festivals and trade shows so we could actually have some demand prior to opening the doors.
So, I called the organizers of the Waterfront Blues Festival and asked what the process might be to get a booth. The person I spoke with didn’t think marketing our business would be a fit for the festival, but there might be another opportunity for us to get involved. They had some issues with their other transportation provider so would we like to transport the bands?
Heck yeah! But we didn’t have any vehicles…I told her I’d get back to her after talking with my partners. With less than a month to go before a major service, our first service, we bought a van, had it decaled and inspected, and were on the ready to go…barely!
That year we transported the Neville Brothers, Koko Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and so many more great artists. (You can see a full list by clicking here: http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com/Festival-Info/History#2007). I remember sitting on the grass working on our business plan between runs, only taking time off to go be a bartender and dance to some of my favorite bands. We made such a good impression on the festival organizers that we were invited back again the next year as their sole transportation provider!
Over the five years that followed, we’ve experienced gains and losses, we moved our business from our tiny one bedroom apartment in the Brooklyn neighborhood to an actual office with a big bay garage and ample fleet parking (our Brooklyn neighbors did not appreciate a growing number of buses taking up their valuable street parking), and most importantly we’ve learned a LOT! We’ve transported famous people and made some great friends with repeat clients, all of whom are VIP’s. The owners have all been married (two to each other) and now are expecting babies. Time and hard work has certainly treated us well!
We have also developed a wonderful relationship with the Waterfront Blues Festival and have met some truly wonderful, amazing people in the Blues industry. We are extremely grateful to be able to celebrate our fifth birthday at Blues Fest this Fourth of July weekend. We’ve grown from a few owners and one van to a staff of 26 and a fleet of 10 buses. While we won’t be able to throw a big party (too busy transporting rock stars like Steve Miller), we will be celebrating under the fireworks. Come join us! You’ll find us at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, July 4th-8th. http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com/
P.S. Fiona is back on the blog these days. Mark has taken a more managerial role here at ecoShuttle and will guest blog periodically.
Hello Blog Readers,
I’m back from Las Vegas! And they are a Johnny come lately in terms of sustainability. Here are a few of the things that stuck out to me: No one recycles…Anything.. At least in the residential areas I visited, but after some researching, I realized that I was there in between garbage/recycling pickup times, as it occurs every two weeks and that this is slowly catching on across the city, so maybe not everyone has gotten involved just yet (I’ll be back to check up on this, Vegas!). On the other hand, businesses on the strip are getting creative by melting down food scraps for hog feed, as well as promoting recycling among their employees by starting a “Conservation Starts at Home” campaign. Yay!
Another issue I noticed which is probably obvious to anyone who visits there, Vegas goes through water like nobody’s business! That wouldn’t draw that much attention if Vegas were located in the Pacific Northwest where we get plenty of rain each year, but Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert. Unfortunately, the water they are abusing comes from the Colorado River’s dammed incarnation—Lake Mead, a beautiful, enormous lake. I was on Lake Mead and was able to witness first-hand the diminishing amount of water available.
The water level, as seen in my photo above, has dropped about 90 feet since its construction.
Las Vegas has also taken to the more conventional methods steps to be more sustainable. These steps include the addition of many bike lanes, which no one really seemed to use, and solar energy (which should become increasingly profitable once the Hoover Dam is no longer able to produce energy because of Lake Mead’s decreasing water depth).
Another thing Vegas has going for it is the LEED Certified desert living center, called the Spring Preserve, located right in the center of the city. The Preserve features protected trails and animals, and offers plenty of opportunity for community involvement, as well as a weekly farmers market.
My other plug would be to include some info on the Neon boneyard! While not eco-friendly per se, Las Vegas has a serious problem with just imploding casinos once they’re no longer profitable and rebuilding, really leaving no trace and making it difficult to keep a sense of history or culture for locals. That’s why it’s so cool that old discarded neon signs began being saved and collected beginning in 1996…there are some really famous ones, check it out if you are ever in the area!