(Nov. 22, 2022) The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching which means parking downtown will soon be a lot busier. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) advises Portlanders to slow down, read all parking signage and pay the meter – don't let the thrill of a Black Friday deal distract you!
Our parking enforcement officers don’t like giving out parking tickets just as much as you don’t like receiving them. Metered parking spots exist so that there is adequate turnover in high-density areas of the city, like downtown. Some days this holiday season, on-street, metered parking will be your only option. SmartPark parking garages will be closing at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and reopening at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25. During this closure, on-street parking in Portland will be free in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
While taking a brief break from their daily routes, we asked seven parking enforcement officers to give a few tips on how Portlanders can avoid a parking ticket. Read the list below for tips to remember when you’re parking. And remember, if you need a surefire way to know you won’t be parking illegally: walk, bike, or take public transportation to your destination.
- Register your vehicle! It’s been almost a full year since the Oregon DMV ended a moratorium on minor citations for things like expired vehicle registration tags. Make sure you visit the DMV to update your registration if they’re expired. This is an easy way to avoid a fine which can range from $70 to $145. Curious about how much different parking violations could cost? Stay informed by visiting PBOT's common parking violations page.
- Pay the meter no matter how long you will be using spot for. Only park for the maximum time listed on the signage. If you’re parked in a two-hour parking spot, you cannot continue paying the meter after your two hours are up.
Read all signage around the space you want to park; if signs are followed correctly, you will avoid a ticket. There are plenty of spaces to park downtown: over 20,000 parking spots to choose in addition to five SmartPark parking garages.
Need to make a quick pick up or drop off? PBOT has implemented five minute fast stop parking spaces that allow drivers to run 5 minute (and under) errands with free parking. But, if you don’t see this sign, make sure you pay the meter.
Parking Kitty is a great way to easily pay for parking in metered parking zones. Just remember to input your license plate information correctly, including any stacked letters shown on vanity plates. Learn how to download and use Parking Kitty here.
Once you have parked and checked out any signage, look around your car for fire hydrants, ADA ramps, driveways, bike lanes, bus-only (Rose) lanes or crosswalks. Blocking any of these could result in a ticket and could impact the safety of others.
There are 10 holidays when parking is free in Portland. Visit our Public Parking in Portland website to learn when they are. Parking enforcement officers don’t have parking quotas! They are doing their job to ensure parked cars aren't blocking the traveling public and that there is parking turnover to support local businesses. In addition to making sure that Portlanders are parked correctly and safely, enforcement officers also do a myriad of other non-parking related services. They are Portland’s eyes on the street who can help:
- Give directions
- Find lost or stolen vehicles (or even lost pets!)
- Give restaurant recommendations
- Connect Portlanders in distress to medical or mental health services
Our parking enforcement team are some of PBOT’s valued, front-line employees. Please be respectful and considerate and remember, you can avoid an interaction with parking enforcement officers if you park safely and pay attention to all marked parking signs.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the city’s transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at portland.gov/transportation