Working you over some more

Strapped for cash and facing a weary public that knows it's already overtaxed for the anemic services it receives, the car haters at the Portland City Hall "transportation" bureau have come up with a solution to their budget woes. It's back to vicious parking enforcement we go!

Portland’s transportation bureau, which is facing a $32 million deficit, plans to increase enforcement on parking and expired vehicle tags.

At a budget session this week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) laid out a plan to get its $32 million shortfall down to $4.6 million and avoid laying off 118 city employees. The agency wants to hire 28 new parking officers: six to patrol for expired vehicle registrations and the rest for patrolling parking meters. 

"It would be a very important and less-than-painful pinch point for people than I believe is anticipated or expected," said Millicent Williams, PBOT's director. "In fact, what we learned is most people don’t know how much they pay for parking." 

Would somebody please tell me what this person is talking about? If a driver gets a $65 parking ticket, they're not going to notice?

I think that what most people do know is to stay out of downtown Portland. And putting an army of passive-aggressive ticket-writers back out on those streets is only going to reinforce that message. If anything, the city needs to make parking free in the downtown core, effective immediately and indefinitely, for four hours at any given time.

I'm all for more law and order among drivers, but the more obvious, pressing need is for enforcement against moving violations. Traffic fatalities in Portland and vicinity have reached disgraceful levels, and you never see a traffic cop. Apparently there are a handful of city police around on traffic patrol, but they're a drop in the bucket compared to all the dangerous driving you see everywhere you turn. And where are the state troopers? They don't come to Portland. It's one of those Beaver State mysteries. No one is supposed to ask, and if you do, you're just ignored.

Meanwhile, as for that $32 million deficit, I've got an idea. Lay off half of these posers and put the bureau in the hands of an old fellow, chewing on a cigar, who's spent 20 years out on the roads fixing potholes. Somebody like this guy.


  1. Russ Thomas could never work in the city of Portland. Too old, too white, too dedicated, knows too much. Gets too many things done. Probably wouldn’t hire enough “equity” managers or LGBTQ pothole fillers.

  2. Didn’t progressives declare that enforcing such laws was part of systemic racism?

  3. And let’s remember all the street parking that’s been eliminated by bike lanes and expanded traffic calming etc! So there is far less downtown parking than there used to be. No reason to go to downtown Portland anymore!

  4. Had occasion to visit Tanasbourne, Bridgeport Village and Washington Square last week. Yes it was a long trip. But, I got what I was looking for.
    Noticed something at those places that was pertinent to this issue. Hugh parking lots. No parking meters. Thousands of shoppers. No graffiti. No edgy people on the streets.

    1. No kidding. Faced with a choice between the downtown Apple store and the one at Washington Square, I chose the latter, despite the extra 10 minutes each way. Downtown Portland is super-progressive and super-dead.

  5. The biggest question is why does PBOT need separate staff for meters and tags. Can’t the meter readers check tags?

    1. My understanding is the tags/plates-specific staff are expected to be looking beyond the pay-to-park areas. They could presumably watch for blocked driveways, wrong direction parking, etc, but not expired meters where there are none.

  6. I quit using any Portland parking structure, free or not or any pay-to use space on the street.

    About 10 years ago I was using the BofA parking lot at Lloyd Center, and then skipped across to Taste Tickler after using the bank. The parking gestapo saw me cross the street and gave me big fat ticket for my heinous crime. I went back into the bank lobby and complained, and I swear I had to spend weeks fighting that stupid ticket.

    And the business community wonders what happened to all of the foot traffic in areas with parking policies like this? Clueless.

  7. Maybe bring back the Meter Maids in short skirts and jaunty hats to attract more visitors to the core?

  8. And dealing with the DMV in person is also a real pain in the behind!

  9. When they started asking for a license plate # and only taking electronic payment for parking assigned to a specific spot next to *that* parking meter (~when I got the vax @ convention center?), I said ‘forget it’ I’ll chance it & park in a private lot to a business or in general, paid or not.
    That was just kind of the last straw for me..:

    I paid for a certain # of minutes, &, as far as I’m concerned, if I possess the window receipt, that entitles me to those minutes anywhere administered by the relevant Portland street parking authority (their big competitive & Levi are advantage over private lots & garages, if we were honest about it/less tolerant of arrogant corrupt hacks running the state) & if I want to give said receipt that’s got some minutes on it to someone else, that’s my business.

    Expired tags is an add-on (has been since ~2008-2012?) & the parking gestspo LOVES to hit people up for a license plate frame that ‘partially or wholly’ obscures the tag or someone who doesn’t bother to stick the front tag on (so what/who’s it hurting? They paid (the now outrageous compared to everywhere but CA) fees for the registration?).

    People steal or tin-snip tags (I razor cut mine or have a car old enough for a permanent plate & don’t drive much.

    Used to be legal to just have a rear plate only in OR, which is still true in AZ.

    Neither AZ or WA allows camera tickets for the most part, WA has efficient department of licensing places in the grocery store where they’re friendly, will print a title right then and there and if you have an abandoned no-title car, the sheriffs deputy can be sent out & they’ll run the vin & if it isn’t stolen; you send the registered letter and it’s yours after some weeks to s month if the car is low value (couple weeks in even a reasonably inexpensive tow yard would easily exceed the value of the car) . .

    No more emissions testing in WA/not many old cars that take a tailpipe test pre 1995, anyway.

    AZ emissions testing all the way back to ‘68 in the major counties and allows private middle men/bail bondsmen type places for licensing (cheap state with old people & only ~2 DMVs for all of Tucson, but idk, not paying a bunch of PERS for people to process forms & screw in a light bulb w/8 layers of bureaucracy, what’s the problem?).

    Title fee is $4 in AZ, &80 here, if you have a new luxury car the sales/luxury tax is progressive in AZ, ID & WA &, for an old POS, the fee is low/reasonable in AZ in ID…WA is west coast pricing/as much or more than us, but more sensible/they’re not jerks about it?

    I’m fine with neighborhood parking passes; 2-4 hour limits, run the plate & if it’s current and someone possesses the correct current tag on at least one plate (partially obscured or not), good enough?

    Maybe do something about the dead RVs and no-plate cars flying around or distributing contraband out of the trunk as the ‘dead drop’ box? Literally one ‘corner boy’ as they’d say in Baltimore/The Wire would pop the trunk from a line of sight apartment window/roof to distribute the ‘wares’ on a benz that intermittently had a plate or temp tag, but often no plate.

    Will anything be done about that & zombie RVs trickling into your neighborhood?
    Will we cut the dead wood & eliminate some tail pipe testing and do some traffic studies before allowing the developer weasels to build the next monstrosity?
    Developer weasels line Re: parking;
    ‘Oh, we forgot/just slipped our minds.’
    ‘Next time, tho…next time..’
    Don’t hold your breath…
    …taxation & enforcement with a vengeance!

    We knew the basic answer in the 1930s with sturdy buildings/parking on the roof like the old 1930s photo with the market down by river place, Hawthorne fred Meyer & Hollywood pharmacy.

    Would require well built sturdy low-rise buildings, but nobody who matters who stands to make $ wants that.

    Sea or asphalt/surface parking lots are horrible/not the answer, either (even in the sprawling model it’s a nightmare/pyramid scheme 30 years down the road for sewer/taxes/maintenance covering all that ground).

  10. They could make some money ticketing all the vehicles stored on the streets around town that people call in, and the city won't touch because they've got registration stickers, or they look like they run, or some other excuse. It's absolutely nuts that people's unused crap can sit on the public right of way for years at a time.

  11. All roads lead to Rome- after vehicle licensing, gas tax, road tax, and DEQ...

  12. Wait until they make it out into the neighborhoods like SF & Seattle & the Portland bureaucrats discover ‘street cleaning’ scam, whereby they make you move all your cars & harass & ticket you if you don’t.

    To be fair, on the more major streets where commerce & law enforcement & would be impacted by bums and trash (like the neerdoells used to pile up in alleys to prevent police vehicles from passing thru & evade on foot in some cities), they do actually clean the streets/it isn’t *entirely* BS, tho hand it to Portland bureaucrats and watch them fleece you, but as far as rendering actual services and getting rid of the zombie RVs, makeshift chop shops & contraband dead-Dropbox cars?

    Eastmoreland and a few other neighborhoods have leaf pickup, tho I think you have to pay in they don’t ticket the cars/just go around.
    Part of that is, it’s only a twice/ year thing (they used to sweep the streets a lot more in general/I feel like I’m taking my life into my hands evermore (for many reasons) riding the bike with all the down branches; trash & snow plow gravel & filth) & they do it ofer only a day or two, if your neighbors coordinated moving your cars into driveways/garages, good for you, You have to be home to coordinate with the leaf pickup loader & sweeper operators (on a weekend, so odds are good?) if you’re outta garage or driveway space to coordinate your street parking down to the minutes or hours of each operation.
    I’d still prefer that to going to tickets by default?

    Could be worse than even SF, Seattle or Portland; could be some forsaken new construction HOA CA-valley town like Atwater where most of the jobs are the federal prison & maybe the odd thing here or there in Merced where you’re only allowed to park in the garage (extreme HOA) or driveway of your wretched post-war garage-first snout-house , but everything is laid out so you need to own a car to go <1mile to buy food?
    I’ve seen that…nice to visit for the weather, but lord help those godforsaken places…

    Don’t hold your breath…


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.