Utilities Donate More than $60k to ATTC

LBCC students learn fine art of automotive work.
Consumer’s Power, NW Natural and Pacific Power have donated more than $60,000 to Linn-Benton Community College’s new Advanced Transportation Technology Center, which is located in Lebanon, Oregon.

Slated to be ready for students fall term, the donation will be used to support construction of and to purchase equipment for the new training facility.

“Consumers Power, Inc. is pleased to be able to help LBCC bring this visionary effort to our local community,” said Roman Gillen, Consumers Power CEO.  “We are interested in looking for ways that alternative fuels can help not only our business, but also help our rural communities and agricultural members become even more competitive at home and abroad.”

LBCC’s new center will train student and incumbent workers to service alternative fuel vehicles, working with industry to provide skilled employees and create jobs in the alternative fuels and transportation sector.

“With Oregonians spending over $8 billion dollars each year on gas and diesel, it's easy to see the affects fluctuations in fuel prices have had,” said LBCC automotive instructor Bryan Schiedler.  “If our addiction to the gas pump continues, the U.S. will consistently be dependent on foreign countries for that source of energy and will continue to experience the stress and strain with every uptick in fuel prices.”

Switching to alternative fuels such as electric, natural gas, propane or others will create jobs and support economic growth, said Schiedler. On average, every dollar saved at the pump that we in turn spend on other goods and services, creates 16 times more jobs across the economy, he added.

The college’s Advanced Transportation Technology Center will be the only major broad-spectrum training facility for alternative fuel vehicles between Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California, and will serve as a first step toward creating a base for alternative fuel technology in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Students in LBCC’s automotive and heavy equipment programs will receive hands-on training using state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment in research, installation, maintenance, conversion and operation of high-efficiency alternative fuel technologies including compressed natural gas, propane, electric and biodiesel as well as traditional fuel vehicles. The center will also be used to train technicians already in the field.

Future plans for the ATTC site include construction of a new 10,000-square-foot innovation center and construction of compressed natural gas and propane fueling stations and electrical charging stations.

LBCC is continuing to raise funds to support moving its heavy equipment, trucking and diesel program to the center, with plans for an additional 20,000-square-foot building to be built on the site.

The college has raised approximately $6.5 million for the project. In addition to the utilities donation, major funding for the center includes more than $2 million in private donations, $1.5 million from the Economic Development Administration, $1.4 million from the City of Lebanon Urban Renewal District, $800,000 from Oregon lottery funds, $170,000 from Pacific Propane Gas Association, $100,000 from the Lebanon Industrial Development Corporation, $350,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust and $50,000 from Drive Oregon.

Industry partners include Snap On, Pacific Power, PapĂ© Machinery, John and Phil’s Toyota, and CoEnergy Propane of Corvallis.

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