Did you know that if you complete 45 round-trip commutes to work by walking, bicycling, or utilizing a car/vanpool, bus, pogo stick, mule, etc., you are eligible for sweet prizes, like free beer, via the Commute Options' rewards program? Yeah.
All you have to do is fill out an online form that automatically notifies Commute Options when you've completed 45 alternative transportation commutes - commutes that don't involve solo drives.
"It's been a fabulous program for us," said Jeff Monson, Executive Director at Commute Options. "We can show we're making progress statewide."
Commute Options has seen an increase in enrollment since they switched to the online tracking service, drivelessconnect.com, which has made the process simpler and easier, according to Monson.
In order to become eligible for the rewards, $25 gift certificates to local establishments such as Bend Brewing Co., FootZone, Strictly Organic Coffee and The Pine Tavern, you must first pester your boss (as we did) to enroll in the program.
Depending on the number of employees at your workplace, that enrollment process will run the boss man/woman somewhere between $50 and $300. Once enrolled, a nice person from Commute Options comes to a staff meeting and explains how awesome alternative transportation is, as well as how to use Drive Less Connect, the locally funded, multi state program that auto-tracks your commutes online.
"It's pretty easy," said Kim Curley, Commute Options Community Outreach Director.
Once you've nailed 45 commutes, the website alerts Commute Options and you get a sweet gift certificate in the mail. Wah-la! If your employer is giving you grief about the cost of enrollment, let 'em know that come June, when Commute Options week goes down, the enrollment cost is halved (since the year is half over).
Of course Commute Options offers lots of other great services too, like their Safe Routes to School Program, which helps kids with their commute. The area non-profit also helps connect you with carpools and provides tools that will log and track the money you'll save by not driving a pollute-a-tron (motor vehicle), alone.
Maybe it’s something in the water, or the upholstery of our Subaru Outbacks that makes Central Oregonians so environmentally conscious, a fact that’s readily apparent in our recycling rates (almost 45 percent of our waste is now repurposed) and our embrace of solar power. (We’re home to half a dozen installers and recently added two of the biggest solar systems in state at Bend Broadband’s data center and Facebook’s new server farm in Prineville.)
Whatever the reason, sustainability isn’t just a way of life in Bend -- it’s an industry that includes everything from small windpower producers like Redmond’s Abney Electrix to a people-powered cycle pub in Bend. This year’s Green Issue is a snapshot of how Central Oregon is putting itself on the forefront of the sustainability movement both individually and collectively. While there are dozens of interesting examples of how entrepreneurs, public agencies and private citizens are blazing a green trail, we’ve narrowed our focus to seven projects that show how Central Oregonians are putting their values into practice; examples range from a multimillion dollar community forest project to a natural soap making business. Read it, share it and then recycle it. (EF)