1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204
In 2018, residents in the Downtown Meter District were among various stakeholders participating on an advisory committee for developing the Parking Management Manual (PMM). Through the PMM process, advisory committee members learned about the transportation rule established by City Council in 1996 that guides sharing meter revenues with parking districts (TRN 3.102). In accordance with the policy, meter districts established after 1996 are eligible to receive a majority of the net meter revenue (interpreted as 51%) and have a stakeholder committee that helps determine how the funds are spent for transportation projects and programs in the district. The Downtown Meter District, established well before 1996, is ineligible.
Downtown Meter District residents participating on the PMM advisory committee, seeing this as an opportunity to gain more influence on how parking funds are allocated within the Downtown Meter District, began to advocate for revision to this policy, which was outside the purview of the PMM. Responding to the concerns raised by Downtown constituents, and distinguishing it from the PMM process, Director Leah Treat issued a memorandum to the PBOT Parking Operations and Planning Divisions, directing a review of the Net Meter Revenue Policy.
The purpose of this project is to reconcile policy direction as it pertains to:
This work will formalize updates to how PBOT allocates net meter revenues from parking paystations in metered areas, update the City’s 1996 Parking Meter District Policy, and outline a comprehensive process for revenue allocation for all existing and future meter parking districts. To accomplish this, the project will evaluate practices from other cities, reconcile relevant policy direction for measures of evaluation, and consider budget impacts. The public will be involved throughout the process and contribute to developing and evaluating alternatives. This will inform recommendations to the Director and Commissioner on how net meter revenue should fit into the bigger picture of PBOT’s priorities.
Net Meter Revenue Policy Review recommendations are anticipated to go to City Council in Fall 2020.
The country’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, is installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma July 16, 1935.
When Portland installed its first single-space parking meters in 1938, an hour of parking cost a nickel and the meters had to be wound by hand once a week.
Portland was among the first major cities to install meters, beginning with 500 meters installed in the area bounded by SW 4th, Broadway, Salmon and Morrison.
All 500 of the City’s first parking meters were installed the day prior to beginning operation. As described in The Oregonian on March 7, 1938, “Parking meters sprouted like mushrooms after a rain on downtown streets.”
In total, 1400 meters were installed in downtown Portland in 1938 in the area of SW 3rd to 11th Avenue from Salmon to Oak Street.
An article in The Sunday Oregonian from March 1955, said the City had collected over 120,000,000 nickels in the first 17 years of parking meter operation.
By 1955, Portland had had about 4700 meters installed in the city. On an average day, city staff would count and sack half a ton of nickels.
At the height of the meter era, circa-2000, Portland had over 7,000 single-space meters in Downtown and other parts of the city.
In 2002, Portland become one of the first cities in the country to adopt the next generation of parking technology when it began to install paystations. The paystations allow customers to use credit cards or coins to pay for parking at any space on that block.
Installing a single paystation costs $450 versus $700 to install a full block-face of single-space parking meters.
In 2016, the last single space, coin-operated parking meter was removed.
Parking Kitty mobile app launched in 2017.
Today there are a total of 1,952 pay stations in Portland and about 37% of users pay with the Parking Kitty app.
Parking meters and paystations are primarily tools to regulate the supply and demand of on-street parking. The goal is to create turnover so visitors have easy access to businesses and other amenities by finding parking without having to circle the block.
Last updated: 12.22.21