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Game Changers: Dennis Harkema, Secret Gardens Plant Services

Dennis Harkema,

Secret Gardens Plant Services

Dennis is a frequent visitor to Portland’s Electric Avenue. This business owner from Estacada typically travels 200 miles or more daily to service corporate and residential customers. He stops at Electric Avenue one or more times a day to grab a quick charge as moves about the Portland metro region and S.W. Washington.

His last vehicle was an all-wheel drive Dodge pickup truck that got about 8 miles per gallon while running up a monthly gas bill north of $1,900. This self proclaimed ex-hippie was also troubled by the excessive gas he was consuming. He decided to make a change for the better.  Today he drives a Nissan Leaf and figures he saves about $1,800 a month while treading a little lighter on the planet. That’s a heck of a story and it’s why Dennis, and his Leaf, get our nod as Game Changers.

"My Nissan Leaf is a Money Machine!"

We also suspect that Dennis may be a candidate for a Guinness World Record as the leading long distance traveler in a Leaf. While most of our fellow Oregonians in the Willamette Valley travel about 20-miles per day or less, Dennis often beats that average 10 times over... in an all electric car. “I really love the car and the camaraderie I share with other EV drivers,” says Mr. Harkema. “I’ve met a lot of cool people.  Little kids will frequently come up and say, look Daddy, there’s one of those electric cars!”

Game Changers showcases urban innovation stories from real people. It is produced by the office of Research and Strategic Partnerships at Portland State University.