Go by trike!
That could be the new motto for the City of Portland, which recently inked a contract to have all its Office Depot purchases delivered by adult-size tricycles.
This is not a joke. Nor is it a clever promotion for the latest episode of Portlandia.
"These are true cargo trike tricycles," says Franklin Jones, whose company B-Line got the contract to deliver office supplies by electric-assisted trikes.
Jones, a former sixth grade teacher from San Francisco, moved to Portland in 2008 to start the environmentally conscious company. His business is now a 10-person operation that's been on the streets of Portland since 2009.
B-line currently pedals goods on three trikes capable of hauling 700 to 800 pounds. And while the tricycles may be a familiar sight to office dwellers and residents downtown (B-Line delivers to Bijou Café, Higgins, Stumptown and the Portland Farmer's Market, among many other businesses) Jones is aware some folks might consider the trikes unusual.
"It challenges your mind to think of what a tricycle can really do," Jones says.
Under the new city contract (We've got a call in to the city to ask the value of the contract), B-Line will deliver whatever city officials order from Office Depot to one of nine City of Portland office buildings downtown.
"The City of Portland negotiated the use of B-Line transportation for Office Depot deliveries to downtown offices to continue and encourage the use sustainable practices within the city," a press release from the city reads. "By replacing the delivery vehicles that would have been on the road with B-Line electric-assist cargo trikes, the city it able to improve downtown traffic, lower its carbon footprint and support B-Line’s mission to provide an efficient and sustainable distribution system in the Portland urban area."
Update: Kelly Ball, a spokeswoman for the city, says Portland's contract with Office Depot is worth $6 million over five years. Office Depot subcontracts with a delivery company called Dynamex that subcontracts with B-Line.