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Oregon City rolls out lots of parking changes

The city of Oregon City is committed to improving the accessibility of its 166-year-old downtown for pedestrians, and visitors who arrive by car. Community leaders also recognize the challenges in implementing the adopted downtown parking plan in the midst of several downtown construction projects that are revitalizing the downtown marketplace.

'Oregon City's historic downtown is an important part of our community identity,' said City Manager David Frasher. 'The city is committed to improving the physical, cultural and commercial environment downtown.'

The city is rolling out several new programs to help support a better business climate during the last phase of construction on Main Street. The following changes, programs and incentives will be implemented over the next several months.

• Installation of additional handicapped accessible stalls downtown. (August)

• Installation of additional four-hour parking on 6th Street on the bluff. (July)

• Parking Customer Coupon program. (July)

• Parking permit discount program for parking customers using off street parking. (July)

The city is in the process of installing additional handicapped accessible stalls downtown. These stalls are parallel to the curb, which will provide better wheelchair access in the areas of Main Street that have had new sidewalks installed. This will increase the number of handicap accessible public parking stalls downtown to 11.

As noted in the downtown parking study, utilizing parking outside of the downtown core is vital to the overall success of retail activity downtown. Oregon City will install additional four-hour parking stalls on Sixth Street on the bluff, in order to accommodate long-term visitors who need more than two hours of parking.

Oregon City's Parking Division has also created two new programs to support downtown businesses and parking customers. The first program is a Parking Customer Coupon program, which gives business owners control of their customer's downtown experience. This program, anticipated to roll-out in mid July, includes a coupon attached to the bottom of parking permits issues by the mid-block parking kiosks. These coupons can be used at participating businesses.

A second program for business owners and downtown employees, offers half price parking permits, for up to three months, for new permit holders in the red and purple parking zones. This program will help encourage day-long parking customers, often business owners and employees, to park off the street and in a parking lot. Downtown parking customers should contact the Parking Division at 503-496-1559 to purchase these discounted parking permits for use beginning July 1.

Downtown Oregon City has seen a great deal of change over the last three years - a return to two-way traffic on Main Street, the addition of more than 40 new businesses, and a $2.5 million streetscape improvement project scheduled for completion in August 2012. While these changes have had an impact on parking, there are more than 250 on-street parking spots for downtown visitors and customers and more than 241 off street permit parking spots managed by the city of Oregon City.