Parking in some areas of the waterfront will be metered as early as Friday, June 15, as the Port of Hood River rolls out its Waterfront Parking Plan.
While parking on the city-owned streets — North Second and North Eighth streets and the center blocks of Portway Avenue — will remain free, parking on port-owned streets will require a parking pass or a meter payment.
At its June 5 meeting, the port commission officially approved the Waterfront Parking Plan and detailed a payment and fee schedule.
The schedule outlines the costs of Event Site parking passes, rates for parking in payment zones along the waterfront, and fees for parking complaints and late payments.
A draft of this schedule had been updated after it was reviewed at the port’s April 3 and May 15 meetings.
“A lot of work has been done preparing for the implementation of (the Waterfront Parking Plan),” said Port Director Michael McElwee at the June 5 meeting. The port first anticipated that they would eventually need to implement paid parking in 2017 and have since been working towards that end.
The cost of daily passes, annual regular passes and annual preseason oversize passes remain unchanged from their 2017 prices: $8, $100 and $140, respectively. Annual pre-season passes will cost $75, a $5 increase from last year, and an annual oversize pass will now cost $200, a $20 increase from last year. Daily oversize passes have decreased from $20 each in 2017 to $15 under the new schedule and additional family discounted passes have been discontinued.
Just over 600 parking passes in total have been sold so far, the port commission reported, compared to about 300 at this time last year,
Parking in Nichols Basin, called Zone 1 in the new schedule, will be free April 1 through Sept. 30 with a maximum two-hour stay and increase to $1 per hour Oct. 1 through March 31 with a maximum four-hour stay. A parking kiosk in this area is expected to be installed in Spring 2019.
Zone 2 parking, located at North First Street, will be $1.75 with a maximum four-hour stay from April 1 through Sept. 30 and decrease to $1 an hour with no maximum stay from Oct. 1 through March 31. Zone 4, the E. Portway Avenue lot, will charge $1.75 an hour with a maximum four-hour stay April 1 through Sept. 30 and be closed the rest of the year. Zone 5, West Jensen, will charge $1 an hour with a maximum eight-hour stay year-round; parking on West Portway Avenue, Zone 6, will be $1 an hour weekends only from April 1 through Sept. 30 and be prohibited the rest of the year. Parking at the Event Site, Zone 4, will be $5 a day Oct. 1 through March 31.
Parking will be prohibited in these areas every day between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and payment will be required every day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
“Metered parking in these high-demand areas of the waterfront is meant to improve turnover at specific locations, encourage off-street parking for longer visits and generate new revenue for the ongoing maintenance, operation and upgrades to port-owned waterfront parks and open spaces,” a press release stated.
The new source of revenue will hopefully allow the city to wean off using toll money, Commission President Hoby Streich said. “We are trying to pay for our parks ourselves and not out of toll revenue so it’s a step in the right direction,” he said at the June 5 meeting.
The port commission also approved a terms and conditions parking agreement for the zones that contracts vehicle owners to follow the port’s rules when parking at their sites. Signs featuring the slogan “Park for Parks” will convey those rules and the reasoning behind implementing paid parking at the entrances to each pay to park area, a press release stated.
McElwee said that he anticipates that enactment of a successful paid parking plan will require trial and error. “If this is implemented we will get things wrong, we’ll have to make course corrections and adjustments that will affect parking behavior, and user accessibility of the waterfront will change,” he said at the June 5 meeting, “but the expectation is that there’s some significant positive benefit.”
Payment kiosks are in the process of being installed along North First Street and on Portway Avenue east of Second Street and west of Eighth Street, a press release stated.
The port’s meters will differ from the city’s, however, in that they will register vehicles by license plate rather than a slip in the window and will only accept debit or credit card payments. Drivers will also be allowed to pay on a new mobile app, “Way to Park,” that is now available for free download on Androids and iOS phones.
Overtime parking and non-payment will be charged an initial fee, ranging between $10 and $40, that increases every 30 days, with collections stepping in after 90 days of inaction.
The port commission officially approved the Waterfront Parking Plan at its June 5 meeting, including the pricing schedule and designated parking zones, and authorized McElwee to make future modifications to the plan if they’re needed.
Before the official motion was passed, however, commissioner David Meriwether said he wanted the commission to be aware of his personal viewpoint and intended actions going forward, given his opposition to the paid parking plan in the past.
“While I still don’t agree with it on a personal level, I do think I need to support the decision of the majority of the commission, which has been to go down this path, and I do not intend to be an obstructionist on these individual elements of the implementation of the plan as they go forward, because we’re past the point of deciding whether we’re going to do this,” he said.
The commission’s current plan as they implement paid parking on the waterfront is to stay updated so they can make modifications if necessary.