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Cedar Mill News

Volume 10, Issue 10
October 2012

Resources for Going Car-Free in Cedar Mill


A Metro resource for helping people “get around, share a ride” in the Portland metro and southwest Vancouver area. For groups of 5-15 individuals. The Regional Travel Options Program can be reached at

Ride Connection

A non-profit group dedicated to providing responsive, accessible transportation options for those in need. For information, write to

PCC Rideshare Program

Portland Community College encourages and helps students to ride to campus together.

Trimet multimodal trip planner

Trimet has an online tool that helps individuals plan trips that include both public transportation and other forms of transport, such as walking and biking.

Car-Free in Cedar Mill
By Steve Halliday

If you suddenly woke up one morning to find several thousands of dollars more in your pocket—without robbing a bank, selling your house, or increasing your income—what would you do with that extra money?

John Andersen of Cedar Mill knows what he would do. He and his wife, Mandy, would start exploring. They’d look for new and exotic places to eat, search for great shopping locations, find exhilarating but little-known touring routes, and a host of other activities. John knows what they’d do, because they’ve already begun doing it. No, the Andersens didn’t win the lotto or come into a huge inheritance. In fact, they found the money by losing something else.

They’re now “car-free in Cedar Mill.”

In June 2011, John and Mandy closed their cleaning business and got rid of the van they had used to run it. Nine years before that, they had ditched their family car—so “we were car-lite before we were car-free,” John explained. Today John and Mandy take advantage of the free public transit that comes with his job as an employee of Trimet, and have begun an extensive exploration of their community and surrounding regions using a combination of Trimet services, bicycles, and their own legs.

“Car freedom may be an idea whose time has come for the able-bodied,” John declared. “This could be a great thing all around for peoples' health, new small businesses, easing traffic congestion, creating more quiet, human scaled shopping, and things like pedestrian dining zones.” And John and Mandy aren’t alone in this lifestyle choice; even in his own neighborhood, John said he’s noticed “increasing numbers of people who are regularly using modes of transportation other than cars for their daily needs.”

John and Mandy board Line #62 near Poppa’s Haven to head for the Transit Center. Their first destination was the new Oregon College of Oriental Medicine building in China Town. Then John was heading for his volunteer work and Mandy was going shopping.

Others have noticed, too. About a year ago, The Oregonian ran a story titled “Hillsboro family chooses car-free lifestyle, uses bicycles to get around,” which chronicled the seven-member Goldfield family (with five children ranging in age from nine to 15) that sold its year-old Honda Odyssey minivan and bought a fleet of bikes instead. In one year Phil, the dad of the family, dropped from 289 pounds to 177. The mom, Ann, called the move “the best family decision ever.” This past July, the Oregonian did a follow-up story to describe the family’s creation of a non-profit service that delivers fresh food to Tanasbourne and Orenco residents, through a bicycle-powered group called “Wheel Solutions.”

Californians also are getting in on the “car-free” act. Santa Barbara, a coastal community lying some 90 miles north of Los Angeles, recently launched a website called to entice Los Angelinos to visit during “Carmageddon” I and II, when a major freeway was due to be shut down for an extended period. The website reflects a larger project marketed as an escape from the projected “traffic nightmare” and offers sample itineraries using Amtrak, bicycling, walking, and other forms of public transportation. The project and website attracted a lot of media attention, including stories in such major newspapers as The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle—75 newspapers at last count, along with countless reports on regional and national television outlets.

The morning The Cedar Mill News contacted John about his car-free choice, he was getting ready to go on what he called “an exploratory walk.” Sometimes he uses Metro’s “Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver” ($9.95, available online or in local bookstores). On these walks, John says he gets new ideas (about gardening, landscaping, etc.), finds great new restaurants, discovers shopping gems like the Hollywood district, and gets some good exercise at the same time. “I think it’s something that’s very available to everyone who’s able-bodied,” said John, a fifty-year-old father of two adult children.



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Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2012