Got an extra quarter? Eugene bumps parking meters two bits

Got an extra quarter? Eugene bumps parking meters two bits »Play Video
Parking will cost a buck an hour in downtown Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- For the first time since 1999, the City of Eugene has increased hourly parking meter fees in the downtown area.

To park downtown, metered parking has increased from 75 cents to $1 an hour.

On Oct.15, daily fees for parking structures and garages will increase from $3.50 to $6 an hour.

City of Eugene parking services manager Jeff Petry says there are two main reasons for the increases.

"The parking fund is a standalone checking account for the City of Eugene, and we've gradually eaten up our reserves, putting it towards public safety and security we need downtown," said Petry. "We need the rates to support the checking account."

Petry said downtown development is also a factor.

"We have more employees working downtown, we have more people coming downtown. We have the same number of parking spaces so we use price to try to migrate people into the garage and off the streets," said Petry.

Last week, the City of Eugene increased metered parking in and around the University of Oregon. Metered parking fees rose from $1.50 to $1.70 per hour.

Overall, the combined parking fee increases will bring in an additional $520,000 each year.

Chelsea Heath works downtown and pays metered parking or in parking garages when she goes to work.

"It can get up to $50, $60 a month and yeah, it's frustrating. I think we should be charged but increasing it is not really fair," she said.

Eugene resident Stephen Ambrose said he doesn't mind the increase. "I think it's worth it. At least you can find a parking space. I lived in San Francisco for many years and I would get off work and I would drive around for an hour to find a parking place to where I lived," said Ambrose.

"It doesn't seem too expensive to me," said Springfield resident Brandie Davies. "I'd imagine it's more expensive in other places, in bigger cities, so it doesn't seem too out of line."