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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 29, 2009 2:46 PM. The previous post in this blog was Portland's finest. The next post in this blog is Three 'dog blight. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sticker shock

We had lunch with a good friend in downtown Portland today. We found a parking space on the street. We were there for almost the full 90 minutes that the parking contraption allowed us.

The parking tab: $2.40.

Comments (55)

I think the CRDT implies a credit of $2.40. Jack, I think the city owes you some money. :)

Last time I used one the "smart park" lots were $1.25 an hour. Did they raise those too?

Shoulda gone by streetcar.

That's not too bad. In London it'd be like $8, and your lunch would have been a lot tastier, and you'd be a lot richer.

Seriously: Have you read "the high cost of free parking?" It's all about the cost of not paying for the privilege of owning and driving a car.

They are apparenty now $1.60 per hour. I was shocked that I had to pump about 5 bucks into one of the 3 hour meters.

the cost of not paying

Clear and logical, as always.

Well, at least the meter worked. Two of the last three times
we were goofy enough to go into your city, the damn things
didn't work.

Jack, people with cars have to pay through the nose so that we can afford to create bike boulevards for all the self-righteous "bike advocate" twits. You know, cuz they're better than us.

See it works like this. You make parking difficult and costly for everyone who doesn't live within walking/biking/TriMet distance. Then you use the parking meter revenues to subsidize a streetcar that takes you from one part of downtown to another part of downtown, but does nothing to make it easier to get downtown. This makes more people get in their cars to go to downtown (or did I mean Clackamas Town Center), so they spend more money on parking ... Lather, rinse, repeat, wipe hands on pants.

Another small increment in the goal of eliminating cars and buses from downtown. I'll just bet there are some drawings somewhere that show only streetcar tracks and bike boulevards in downtown proper.

It would be nice if there was some way to get a "validation" or "partial validation" chit from a merchant if you spent money downtown. The chit could be used to reduce your parking fee as a reward for supporting business in the core. Some businesses do that now except it doesn't work with meters.

But of course there's no reward for shopping in downtown Portland and therein lies the rub. Unless the business you want to shop at is unique (like, maybe, Powell's Books, John Helmer, the Oregon History Center gift shop or the like) what will ultimately happen as parking fees rise is that shoppers will go to mall or neighborhood stores where it doesn't cost to park and you don't have to fight your way through MAX and Streetcar lines.

Another thing I've noticed is that municipalities and government agencies seem - increasingly - to be assigning cars to the same category as cigarettes . . . a "legal evil" that can't be got rid of but whose adherents apparently deserve to suffer a slow death by a thousand tax cuts.

$2.40 seems reasonable to me. I'm actually surprised it's not higher.

Unfortunately it will take at least twenty years after these idiots that run the city are voted out to undo the damage done in the last five. I just moved my retail business out of downtown with no regrets.

You paid it didn't you? What would it have cost you to park in a privately-owned parking lot or structure nearest to the meter? My guess it would have been more and you would have had to thread your way through the facility hunting for a space. And waste time threading your way out and waiting to pay. Instead, you got a space right on the street. All you had to do was know how to parallel park.

There is lots of academic research coming from all around the country that concludes that curb parking spaces should be the highest priced parking because they are so user-friendly.

You people bitch too much. You have a great city. Enjoy it.

Yes... and you get to pay on Sunday too!
Enjoy!
And Jo...the city stinks!in my opinion, but beware if you take off your rose colored glasses. The glare of reality could blind you.

How did the cost of street parking turn into a rant about cyclists?

"CRDT implies a credit of $2.40"

You are joking right? Sam will drive all the shoppers to suburbia yet.

I love how CoP just sort of raises rates on things without any public input like water, sewer, parking and other fees. Usually no notice until you get the bill.

How'd you feel if PGE/NWNat did this - Popped a 18% raise on you without a PUC just like CoP did with water?

i think the parking meter fees are in line with those in most cities of comparable size. I'm generally happy with the way I can still usually find space downtown near my destination for parking. If shopping is in my plans, I usually pick one of the garages, since so many merchants do validate. Shopping or dining in town is well worth the little bit of extra trouble or expense compared with the mall.

People who complain about the cost of parking (which is in a limited supply) would be the same people who would complain about tearing down a historic building and putting up a parking lot in downtown to increase parking supply. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Parking costs you no matter what. You might think you're not paying for parking when you go to the mall or big box store, but these stores just pass the cost of goods and services off to the consumer. Remember, that that 200+ "free" parking lot consumes land. Land = taxes and taxes = cost to a commercial land owner which gets placed on the consumers.

I actually have a plan for NW parking: charge for on-street parking near commercial sites. That will reduce people running around the neighborhood looking for a free spot and creating general congestion, and ultimately create less demand for parking.

Putting an actual price on a good is the only way to show its actual value.

$1.60/hr is very reasonable, and the city owned garages, which offer incredibly cheap rates, are quite aplenty downtown.

"Parking costs you no matter what."

Even at Washington Sqaure or Clackamas Town Center? I think Nordstroms charges you the same downtown or out there. In addition, CoP levies a lot of taxes for all of those downtown "improvements" on bldg owners that they don't see in Tigard/Clackamas.

Sum/substance, hwo many times do we need to pay for the same piece of asphalt? Prop taxes, fees, asessments?

Again, my asseriton remains - Compare vacany rates at Pioneer Pace vs. ClackTC or WashSq and you can see what CoP is doing to the downtown retail environment with all of their "improvements".

I parked in downtown Silverton the other day and it cost me 10 cents for 2 hrs.

downtown Silverton

Right here: a new oxymoron.

So if you all want to go to Clackamas Town Center or Washington Square or some other mall that could just as well be found in Steubensville, OH, just go there and stop whining. There are enough people who do ride their bikes, take transit or don't mind paying $1.60 an hour to keep downtown vital.

Better yet, move to Houston.

paying $1.60 an hour to keep downtown vital.

The best way to keep downtown vital is to go down there. At $1.60 an hour, some may be limiting their visits.

$1.60/hr is very reasonable

No, it simply isn't.

"keep downtown vital"

Hey, Pioneer Place looks pretty much like Washington Square anyways, unless you can tell me what is radically different about downtown.

I keep hearing this and I am still waiting for something positive (I'll grant you the homeless kids) that CoP has done for downtown for all those development dollars the rest of the city doesn't get.

Unless, of course, they don't have tall buildings where you live.

"There are enough people who do ride their bikes, take transit or don't mind paying $1.60 an hour to keep downtown vital."

Gag... ack... gag. Planner parrot talk.... Ugh, feel sick.

"Hey, Pioneer Place looks pretty much like Washington Square anyways"

Except that Washington Square has more shoppers.

Lost in the arm-waving about $1.60/hour parking and the throngs of shoppers at Washington Square is the simple fact that if you want to drive downtown and buy stuff you can do it without having to pay tp park.

Back in the late 60s, my family would commute from Pendleton to Puddletown monthly to go shopping, etc. We'd go to Lloyd Center, catch mass at Holy Rosary, stay in a downtown hotel, eat at Ye Olde Town Cryer on Holgate, and have a weekend. Those trips stopped in 72 when we moved to Bull Mountain in Tigard. We could walk for 30 minutes and find 3 houses. Wash Square was still walnuts. For the next 8 years, until Penney's closed and Lipman's sold out, my dad and I would often go shopping for whatever he wanted downtown. We lived in Lake O and Wash Sq was closer, but Dad appreciated the downtown stores. Does anyone remember Murphy & Finnegan's?

In 83, I moved downtown and stayed for 3 years. I worked there, too, until 1992. Until recently, I continued to shop, albeit only at Christmas, downtown. Now, with the Meier & Frank SantaLand gone, the only time I venture downtown is to file something at the courthouse.

What I loved about downtown left long before I did. Whether it was the original Fred Meyer store, Don Kalberer's deli in the Goodenough building, Vee Mak's sub shop, or my favorite tailor (C. Ruby--maybe she's still there), it's long gone.

The parking? Yes, it's outrageous, but then so was Gov. Hatfield's idea that the Miracle Mile on Alder would lead to something. I never thought I would look back to Frank Invancie wistfully.

Pioneer Place looks pretty much like Washington Square anyways ...

The only difference is that Pioneer Place mostly has stores called "This Space for Rent."

If they don't get you for parking, it's $2 each way on Tri-Met, plus extra time, and you might get wet having to transfer if you're coming from some way out place like... Grant High School. Or you can drive to the mall for about 50 cents worth of gas.

"Putting an actual price on a good is the only way to show its actual value."

Actually, having an actual sale at that price is the way to show its value at a that moment in time.

If people stop going downtown and spend more money at WashSq, will you admit it is overvalued for what it is?

"Move to Houston".

As a lifelong Portlander, born right here in nineteen and fifty four, I am sick and tired of hearing this from a bunch of east coast transplants who turned my working class blue collar town into their idea of utopia. Rather than telling the natives to move, why don't you go back to where you came from?

And Gil, if you grew up here you are a collaborator. Why don't you move to Jackson Hole or Austin? You can run your sustainable commune there.

Is that expensive?

So if Lloyd Center is such a deal (free parking!) why didn't you meet your old friend for lunch at the food court?

Are you saying that curbside parking downtown should be free?

You don't go to Lloyd Center unless you want to see what it's like to live in an episode of "The Wire."

"Are you saying that curbside parking downtown should be free?"

Sure. When I go downtown, it's because I have to - like dealing with BDS or clients. Unless they can demonstrate that it costs way more to maintain downtown streets than any place else, I'd said charge all the streets or none. Otherwise, there is nothing special about downtown that merits the admission fee.

You know the reason they do it is because they can and if they take enough parking spaces out, then they can bump it even more.

So anon (weird name, dude), I am a charter member of Society of Native Oregon Born (SNOB)--1948. Got you beat by six years.

Auto addicts complaining about parking sound a lot like smokers who can no longer light up in bars. Your side is losing. More people are coming to a conclusion that for reasons of environment, economy and health, driving less and getting around by some other means is the right thing to do--right on both a personal level and a civic level. In Portland, there probably is a solid majority of citizens who feel that way. And most of us didn't come from back east or California.

Going downtown to visit Pioneer Place is sort of like going to Beverly Hills for soul food. There are stores downtown you can't find anywhere else, such as the aforementioned John Helmer, not to mention Powell's and Cameron Books, Jelly Bean cards, Oregon Leather, a bunch of great music stores and locally-owned bars and restaurants.

Now as for that $1.60 an hour: a few days before last Christmas, I needed to go to Sears. Drove to Clackamas Town Center and as soon as I turned into the parking lot, I knew I made a huge mistake. There was an almost infinite line of cars snaking through the lot (at a snail's pace) attempting to find one of those free parking spots. I decided to get out, but the traffic was so heavy it took me at least 20 minutes to find a way out of the line and get turned around to the exit.

Time is money and I would have gladly paid $1.60 to have avoided that nightmare.

So to get to Sears, I came back home and rode my bike to the one in Lloyd Center--in about 15 minutes.

"More people are coming to a conclusion that for reasons of environment, economy and health, driving less and getting around by some other means is the right thing to do"

How's about you worry about improving yourself, Gil, and leave me alone.

"John Helmer, not to mention Powell's and Cameron Books, Jelly Bean cards, Oregon Leather"

Puh-leeze, beside Powells how many people visit those stores and actually buy something unique to downtown there?

In addition, most bike/transit riders aren't even buying anything, so why even bother with retail downtown?

Also, stop bad-mouthing Texas, I know about a half-dozen people moving to Austin because:
1) They can afford a house
2) There are actual good-paying jobs there.
For all of these investment $, there is precious little return on jobs, which is going to be what grows Portland - Not building more bike lanes / streetcar lines.

Your side is losing. More people are coming to a conclusion that for reasons of environment, economy and health, driving less and getting around by some other means is the right thing to do--right on both a personal level and a civic level. In Portland, there probably is a solid majority of citizens who feel that way. And most of us didn't come from back east or California.

Drove to Clackamas Town Center and as soon as I turned into the parking lot, I knew I made a huge mistake.

Only then, Gil...

only then?

Sounds as if your "side" is hypocritical (quelle surprise) as well as cynical, painfully defensive and delusional (see: "...solid majority..." above).

Don't you believe in your own hype - why didn't you bike in the first place? Why not take MAX, or Tri-Met? How about WES? Is your commitment to Mess Transit so shallow?

Time is money and I would have gladly paid $1.60 to have avoided that nightmare.

Only there's no Sears downtown - is there?

Maybe they'll open one soon, given all the pent-up demand for refrigerators and lawn tractors from your thousands-upon-thousands of imaginary two-wheeled buddies.

I wouldn't hold my breath - although you're free to.

As long as you like.

the traffic was so heavy it took me at least 20 minutes to find a way out of the line and get turned around to the exit.

Time is money and I would have gladly paid $1.60 to have avoided that nightmare.

On some shopping days at Christmastime, parking downtown isn't that much better.

Gil, concerning your "conclusion", you have no facts, studies, votes, or anything that says 50% of our citizens agree with you. Prove it beyond your thinking it.

"Sure. When I go downtown, it's because I have to - like dealing with BDS or clients. Unless they can demonstrate that it costs way more to maintain downtown streets than any place else, I'd said charge all the streets or none. Otherwise, there is nothing special about downtown that merits the admission fee."

Free on-street parking? Can somebody just park their clunker on the street forever? Who's going to pay to have it towed? If there's a time-limit for the "free" parking, who's going to monitor w/o parking fees assessed to pay the parking monitors?

There's not a city in the world that offers free parking. The only reason there's ample parking at most stores in the suburbs is because the local government MAKES developers have a certain amount of parking spaces per SF of commercial/residential.

You're under some logical fallacy if you think that Portland is "screwing" you over $1.60 fee, but not municipalities that mandate minimum parking requirements for developments (and ultimately the individual).

I don't have much money and when I go to rent a place I have to partially pay for the 1.5 mandated parking spot / per unit in my monthly rental fee -- irregardless if I own an automobile or not. I thinks if people want a parking space with their apartment building, it should cost the individuals who choose to want a spot, instead of making every tenant pay for inflated rent.

Fortunately, this relates to most "newer" construction, as older apartment buildings in town were built w/o a sea of asphalt around them and actually produced a walkable, pedestrian oriented environment, with accessibility for your car if you choose to.

While we are talking about retail issues and parking, it definitely relates to the entire situation at hand.

Right now, Portland's downtown is dying a slow death. It may be pedestrian-friendly, but there are fewer pedestrians than ever (other than those abandoned by our society). This would be a good time to lower, not raise, parking fees on public property. And spend more effort and time on other initiatives to get people from all walks of life downtown more often.

Don't want to do it? Fine. I'll see you at the mall or neighborhood shopping district, where the retail will be, or at a non-downtown neighborhood restaurant or pub, where the better dining experiences will be.

Jack:

I agree that we should be welcoming all walks of life to the city - whatever mode of transport. I agree that adding parking fees on Sunday was not logical because there is not heavy demand on Sunday's anyways, therefore no reasons to put a downward pressure on demand through charging fees. I will retain my assertions that parking is not free, nor should the city offer free parking everyday of the week, it simply does not work that way.

I do not know what you mean by a "slow death", nor do I understand when people say the see a bunch "for rent" signs in the city (yes, there are a lot, but that avoids the situation). People are only basing this off on their perceptions. You don't see all of the vacancies that go on in the suburbs because people are not walking by the stores and businesses - they're hidden behind a sea of parking lots or you're driving by them in your car! You park your car in front of the store and walk in.

That's the difference between strip malls and the city.

The latest market report I've seen:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/frontporch/2009/01/PDX-4Q08-Office-2pg.pdf
(2008 4Q)

http://www.cushwake.com/cwmbs2q09/pdf/off_portland_2q09.pdf
(2009 2Q)

I believe these are office reports, but I am not sure if retail is involved.

Vacancy rates are higher in the suburbs from what I've seen:

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2008/10/portlandarea_commercial_real_e.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2009/04/lake_oswegos_kruse_way_corrido.html

And yes, there are too many vacancies in downtown, but not as many as one would think in comparison. We should do anything we can to fill these stores with businesses and retail.

nor should the city offer free parking everyday of the week

I don't think anyone's advocating that. But a buck an hour is enough.

You don't see all of the vacancies that go on in the suburbs because people are not walking by the stores and businesses - they're hidden behind a sea of parking lots or you're driving by them in your car! You park your car in front of the store and walk in.

My car has windows.

I was in "downtown" Lake O. yesterday. I actually walked around a bit -- one of only a few pedestrians. There are retail vacancies, but they're fewer and further between than they are in downtown Portland. Parking, of course, is free, at least for a few hours. Things are rough all over, but downtown Portland is going to come back last.

"Free on-street parking? Can somebody just park their clunker on the street forever? Who's going to pay to have it towed? If there's a time-limit for the "free" parking, who's going to monitor w/o parking fees assessed to pay the parking monitors?"

I don't know, how do they do it in the rest of town where there is free on street parking?

"there are too many vacancies in downtown, but not as many as one would think in comparison. We should do anything we can to fill these stores with businesses and retail."

Tell that to Sam. For some reason he thinks taking every parking space and turning it slowly into MAX stops and bike lanes will help.

Bike and MAX riders are NOT retail shoppers. Retail downtown has been getting worse now for years - give it up. Compare Pioneer Place to Wash Sq and measure the number of people with shopping bags per sqft. Then again, you could just ask small biz owners downtown how happy they are with all the "improvements."

"I thinks if people want a parking space with their apartment building, it should cost the individuals who choose to want a spot"

Good, you should rent in the Pearl District. I really don't think landlords need another excuse to hit you with fees.

It sounds like you think that downtown parking should be priced according to what you personally think it ought to be, not what market demand is. Isn't it clear from the 80% or better occupancy rate that people are willing to pay $1.60/hour? If the city dropped the price to $1.00/hour or free, the spaces would always be full, and instead of griping about the high prices, you would gripe about how there are never any available spaces, and also probably how the city is giving away potential revenue by not charging people for use of its resources.

"It sounds like you think that downtown parking should be priced according to what you personally think it ought to be, not what market demand is."

What I am saying is that like water rates, CoP just arbitrarily decides to raise prices (something PGE or NWNat would love to do). In addition, when CoP starts taking parking spaces out of commission (for MAX lines and bike lanes) to reduce supply even further that artificially bumps demand. Barring that, I still don't have trouble finding a space.

It's moot, though, the main point is that our political leaders are slowly killing the downtown environment, so this only hastens it.

Wow. $2.40 for 90 minutes. Highway robbery, I tell you.

Parking in Smart Parks is $1.50/hour. Smart Park and street parking is pretty accessible. You can get around downtown pretty easily. And if you're a cheapskate like Jack, take the free Max line from the Lloyd Center parking lot.

Bring your knife.


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Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 324
At this date last year: 176
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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