Progressive Portland loves U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And Pelosi loves our streetcar.
"I want to thank the city of Portland for what you are doing," said Pelosi, praising Portland's light-rail system along with the city's commitment to reduce emissions at yesterday's conference on global warming at Oregon Convention Center.
Around 50 people attended the event, including U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Darlene Hooley, proclaiming a "New Direction"—not in Iraq, with Gen. Petraeus wrapping up his testimony on President Bush's troop surge on Tuesday—but in the fight for energy independence and against climate change.
"I think if we don't act by 2012 to take action, it will be too late," said Pelosi.
Pelosi told the crowd that she had "come to listen," a smile frozen on her lips, her head nodding occasionally as speakers rose to speak about what Portland is doing to fight global warming.
Not surprisingly given his more than 10-year commitment to Portland streetcar projects, Blumenauer invited John Carroll, developer and president of Portland Streetcar Inc., to talk about light-rail projects at the event.
"It's inspiring to see the density along the line," said Carroll, lauding the streetcar for eliminating car trips and saving thousands of pounds of carbon from being released in the atmosphere.
When the Portland-Pelosi love-fest ended, however, there didn't seem to be much else to say.
"What I just saw today was invigorating," said Pelosi, but given Portland's green cred, "it wasn't news."