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Paid street parking to be proposed in downtown Bend; details still being worked out

(Update: Adding video, comments from city of Bend, business owners)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The City of Bend Transportation Department is working on a plan for paid street parking to return to downtown Bend, decades after parking meters were removed.

Tobias Marx, the parking service division manager with the City of Bend said Wednesday the city has been implementing its downtown parking strategic management plan since 2017, and charging for parking is the next logical step.

“The goal is not to necessarily put up more paid parking. The goal is to ensure there’s always available in every block in downtown,” Marx said. 

Finding a parking spot in downtown Bend isn’t always easy. Some people think making on-street spots paid will make it better, while a few business owners disagree. 

“I know a ton of people who avoid downtown and they avoid it just because of the parking,” said Clayton Horn, owner of Planker Sandwiches. “And so anything that makes parking more difficult downtown, I’m against.”

Deanna Miller, an artist at Lotus Moon, agrees.

 “When you start charging from the very beginning, I think it hurts -- I think it will hurt downtown,” Miller said. 

Miller and Horn fear any parking change will push people away and in turn hurt business.

But Andrew Doyle, an attorney in Bend, said it won’t stop him from shopping and eating downtown. 

“So it might impact it a little bit, I think to be honest I would not stop coming downtown completely,” Doyle said.

Anya D’Costa was visiting Bend and said it wouldn't stop her from coming downtown, either.

“If I got here and I was intending to eat downtown or walk around, I probably would end up feeling obviously obligated to pay, because that’s what I came here to do, but I wouldn’t necessarily be happy about it,” D’Costa said. 

Devin Haines, who lives in Terrebonne and has been in Central Oregon since 2006, said people need to adapt.

“It's money out of your pocket, and some people don’t like spending money. But you know ,it’s all a part of things -- this is a part of growth,” Haines said. 

Haines and Doyle think it could actually be a step in the right direction.

“With all the tourism that comes to this city, I think this is just another resource, and something that they do in other parts that we just haven’t done here in Bend yet,” Haines said.

“Cars sometimes are here all freaking day, and I think if people sort of knew, ‘Hey you got to pay for it,' whatever -- you think of other cities that have it. It’s not like we’re reinventing the wheel,” Doyle chimed in. 

Marx emphasized the specifics of which streets and how much the parking would cost are still being worked out.  

A detailed plan will be presented to the city council some time this spring, he said, and there is no set timeline for when it would start.

Marx explained downtown Bend would be a “benefit district,” which means all the money collected for parking would go back into the downtown area for things like cleaning, beautifying and modifying. 

The city of Bend eliminated free parking at its Centennial Parking Garage last year, going to the same $1 an hour, $10 all day rates already in place for the Troy Field and Newport Avenue parking lots. The North and South Mirror Pond Lots charge $1 an hour every day but Sunday - more details on downtown parking at the city's page here.

Parking meters in downtown Bend, Pilot Butte Inn in background (Courtesy Deschutes Historical Museum)

It won't be a first, if there are new parking meters or some other high-tech parking payment method added downtown.

"We had parking meters for nearly 40 years," said Kelly Cannon-Miller, executive director of the Deschutes Historical Museum. They were removed in the 1980s, "but we had them for a long time," she said.

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

Comments

68 Comments

      1. Exactly. This is another example of the classic “let’s create an artificial shortage so we can charge people more to fix the problem”.

  1. This cities inconsistencies are getting absurd. Let the restaurants have the parking, but one councilperson wants us to have a homeless camp next door to our houses even though she has no idea what that means as she is about 12 an moved here 4 years ago. Now we are going to limit parking proximally to people with money? Which is Bend leaders?

      1. “Simplifying”, that’s the reason the parking manager is giving for needing meters. You are right Barney that it’s a done deal already. The parking manager has spoon fed us the changes for paid parking one section at a time. First the back parking lots received meters. Then Marx directed everyone to park in the garage if they wanted free parking. Now they charge for parking there too! It was a money grab the whole time.
        Count all the cars parking downtown from 8AM-7PM including the parking garage. That’s a lot of money they are collecting. I really hope they use the money for beautifying and protecting downtown. We really need a better public bathroom option than the one in Drake Park! They should be required to report publicly where all that money is going!

      1. If you go Downtown, at least during the day, it is mostly tourists. Probably 80%+. How do I know that? They walk slowly, gawk at the windows, are overweight, and dress like city folk. OK, I know these are generalizations, but all you long-time locals know I am right. So, charging for parking will not affect them one iota…they are prepared to pay $7 for a pint and $15 for a burger, so a couple of bucks for parking is meaningless. But, there is no way this will happen by Summer. The equipment and technology for paid parking will take a year or more to source, order, and install.

    1. It’s fine to say you won’t go downtown. But unlike most other shopping centers in Bend the downtown businesses, for the most part, are all locally owned and operated. Collectively downtown is the largest employer of locals in Bend. It’s a shame that paid parking will be yet another issue that will cause locals to stop supporting locals. I guarantee the coffee shops and small ma and pa businesses do not want the parking meters!

  2. From BEND business community in 2019 – Google it.

    “With the recent parking changes, there has been some questions about where (and how) to park in Downtown Bend. There are more than 5,000 parking spaces, 3 public lots and a 4 story parking garage – keeping it simple and convenient to come downtown.”

    Hmmmm. Seems counter productive to continued encouragement to patronize downtown area.

  3. Even better — Shutting down Bond and Wall all the way up to Greenwood to vehicles completely and making that area pedestrian only. Do something unique with the space vs. having the current half-hearted open-air pedestrian village concept. Fewer F-150s with obnoxious “Let’s Go Brandon Flags” screaming by people enjoying themselves having a drink outdoors or enjoying a stroll. And the Bubbas will be forced to park their rigs a few blocks away and actually get some exercise if they choose to visit the horrible cesspool that they think is downtown Bend. Half of those ridiculous rigs don’t fit into a parking space, anyway…

    1. I lived in Eugene when this was implemented, about 35 years ago. Total disaster. Many (most?) tourists are too lazy to walk several blocks to find parking. They want to drive right up to the door, or in close proximity. Eugene cancelled that failed effort after about a decade.

    2. Well, Nick, you want to kill a downtown, make it a pedestrian mall. Lot of cities tried that idea in the 1970s and ripped them out 15-20 years later. Turns out people prefer to drive.

  4. I’d like to know on what the City spends the money that is generated by paid parking.
    I can’t remember the last time I went downtown, it must be at least 5 years ago. There is no shortage of restaurants and stores away from the downtown core that have parking lots for their customers. That’s where I prefer to go. I was glad to hear the Taj Palace will be relocating. Now I will be able to eat there again.

  5. Why do we need paid parking in downtown Bend? Because the companies that sell the validation machines think we do – Remember Portland, Kick backs and lousy long-term contracts. Contracted companies make all the loot – It’s called ‘loot” when its stealing.
    The previous idea of closing the streets altogether is interesting. Maybe just start a trial for a few weekends in summer?

      1. For every case you can say it failed, I can point out one where it thrived.
        Laguna Beach, a true tourist town, has paid parking throughout it’s city and uses the proceeds to clean and protect it’s beaches and city.

    1. Well bend isn’t exactly a historical destination. People come here for the entertainment not the old buildings. Bend is not New Orleans, it isn’t bourbon street.

  6. So for the people that have the let’s go Brandon signs in their vehicles should they be given a warning by the authorities then ticketed if they don’t remove them, ultimately ending on lost of the privilege to drive?

    1. It’s a shame that you hate freedom of speech so much that you’d embrace our community turning into a police state.

      Sounds a lot like your model society is China…

  7. seems to make sense and it’s likely way past time for them to make the move. downtown is nice but it stinks circling the streets for a spot. maybe this might help.

    1. Sure it will help… if you have the income to afford to pay to park all the time.

      So much for diversity – the money talks and the money parks.

  8. There is no such thing a free parking. Taxpayers already pay for the pavement, striping and maintenance. This is a user-fee and a good thing. It will open up parking for those who want to go downtown for a meal and shop for a few hours because the freeloading squatters who take up spaces all day will be pushed out.

  9. What a shock! The government is trying to collect more money. Let’s fabricate a problem that can only be fixed with more taxes. They’re like entitled children who always want more. There’s no amount of taxes that will satisfy them. Literally no amount will ever stop their insatiable desire to simply have more. Here’s a phrase I doubt any of us will hear in our lifetimes from the government “no thank you, we don’t need anymore money. We finally have enough”

  10. I couldn’t care less about the actual out of pocket cost; but will gladly avoid downtown as much as my family tolerate over the increasing inconvenience of dealing with these solutions. Enforce parking time limits, first come first served (we already pay for the parking spaces). How do fees help if time is limited? Only to favor those with more money or tourists (who write it off as vacation budget) over locals. I’m happy to shop and dine elsewhere (screw buy local unless local is also convenient for locals).

  11. What a joke They want you to pay to park but won’t enforce speed limits/ tailgating/ horn honking parking the wrong direction on the city streets The City of Bend has there priorities screwed up

  12. The goal is to ensure that Bend gets more money. Parking in Bend is now confusing and changes on a yearly basis. This is such a joke. I am glad I have a private parking lot in Bend, but if I didn’t I would stop coming downtown altogether. BEND IS TOO SMALL FOR THIS.

  13. The city’s Marxist policies on parking are not killing downtown…yet. But they sure are giving struggling businesses a beating. The parking garage with its Marx promoted access gate is a joke. It causes traffic jams, was poorly thought out, often wont scan cars correctly, has been damaged by frustrated people numerous times leading to needing replaced (genius thinking in that you cant pay to exit at the gate), and is costing more money than its worth.

    They’ve “helped” with parking by basically giving the well heeled restaurants who cater to tourists huge hunks of parking space and removing valuable spots for locals.

    Now, let’s just charge a buck an hour to people parking on the street and add one more thing to the hassle of being downtown. Bad enough Marx and his “pay on your phone” app that many older folks couldnt grasp that dovetailed with a jumble of varying rates for different sections of down town.

    The guy is a self absorbed disaster who has complicated things by “making it simple”. Give him the boot!

      1. 1. It was a play on words Marxist =Tobias Marx

        2. If you want to get rid of tyranny, let the Jan. 6 commission do their job and nail your orange god and his boot licking , goose steppers to the curb.

  14. If they want to open up parking spots, this will do the trick — but at the expense of downtown merchants. If they want to target tourists, how about a simple mechanism to allow locals to get an annual refund? It’s simple — register your license plate (with proof showing local residency) and get mailed a check for 75% of the parking fees at the end of the year, minimum check would be $20. The 25% would cover administration fees.

  15. Terrible idea. The increased revenue doesn’t come close to justifying the hassle/cost for residents. As a side note I’ve never been unable to find parking in or near downtown, even it was just a few blocks away. This is one of those issues that would likely be soundly defeated by city wide vote, but the idea of new revenue dollars can be alluring to those tasked with spending. Maybe there’s enough money included in the taxes we already pay to “beautify” things. Seems like the wrong time to be squeezing people. The quote that it will be better for customers overall – calling bs.

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