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St. Helens considers LED streetlights

Lamps would replace old sodium-vapor fixtures


Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A before and after shot from Oregon City shows the difference between older-model cobrahead streetlights (left) and new LED lights (right).The city of St. Helens may replace its old sodium-vapor streetlights with newer light-emitting diode, or LED, models.

The proposal was brought before the St. Helens City Council during its Wednesday, Sept. 3, work session by City Administrator John Walsh. W

hile Walsh said it would take some time for the full replacement of the city’s streetlights to pay for itself with expected energy savings, reduced maintenance costs and lower electricity rates, he suggested switching to LEDs is also a matter of “environmental stewardship.”

“A number of communities are going to that, and not purely off the energy and maintenance cost savings,” said Walsh. “There’s also an environmental stewardship element of that equation that shows your community cares about conserving energy, doing the right thing.”

Walsh estimated it would take about 12 years for the city to recover the costs of a full transition to LED streetlights, although the project could also be done partially or in stages.

“Eventually, we’ll save money,” he said.

LED streetlights give off what Walsh described as a “better” and “cleaner” white light than the older sodium-vapor lights. He also said switching to LEDs would reduce glare when roads are wet.

Members of the council responded favorably to Walsh’s suggestion, although they said they would like more information before making a decision.

“Any way we can save money in the long haul is a good plan,” said Councilor Ginny Carlson.

Council President Doug Morten added, “Sustainability, I think, is a huge impact on the way we make decisions.”