City hikes parking fines, adds new meters

The city of Hood River will soon install another 170 parking meters throughout the downtown historic district that is expected to add $66,000 of yearly income into the general fund.

On April 22 the city council decided to add parking meters along the entire length of State Street from its western intersection with Sixth Street to the Front Street junction. The meters in front of the library will offer only short-term 30 minute parking but those on the southern side of the street will allow vehicles to park for a three-hour time period.

The new meters will also be placed south on Sixth Street and around the corner on the southern side of Oak Avenue for one block to Fifth Street. The coin collectors will also be set up along Third, Fourth and Fifth streets from Cascade Avenue onto Columbia Street.

Lynn Guenther, city manager, said there will still be 161 free parking spaces throughout the downtown area and people working in that sector have the option to pay $25 per month ($15 if paid a year in advance) to park in one of the four downtown parking lots. He said currently there are 109 vacant spaces in the lot next to Full Sail, eight spaces available east of Front Street, one in the lot just west of Front Street and six in the Fifth Street lot.

Guenther said his recommendation arrived at the behest of the Downtown Business Association, which preferred that plan to a suggestion in March by city public works/engineering director Mark Lago that the 25 cents most commonly used to plug meters buy only 20 minutes instead of the current 30 minutes.

To solve the ongoing problem of people preferring to net a parking ticket than pay for lot rental, the city council decided at the April 22 meeting to double the price of the infraction from the current $5 to $10.

Currently the city makes $112,000 from its 250 parking meters and is seeking revenue to offset its existing $300,000 budget shortfall and, eventually, build up enough capital fund to replace its aging fleet of service trucks.

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