Permit Zone Question – 3/5/12

March 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Parking

A quick Q&A about permit zones in NWDA:

Question from a resident via email on Friday, March 2: I had some questions about what the Parking Committee is doing or supporting in order to make Zone L an easier place for residents to park in. I’ve lived in this zone for nearly 5 years, and it’s an absolute bear, at least where I live. What really gets me, though, is that right across the street on my block are Zone K spots. In my part of Zone L (below Glisan, east of 20th), there are tons of apartment units and not nearly enough spots, yet right out my window across the street are tons of unused Zone K spots all the time. They have FAR less people living there (and the huge Catholic church with no one living in it, taking up 3 whole blocks), but they also have an All-Day Zone that actually protects them. We would LOVE to have an All-Day Zone that protects us in the same way where I live, so I’m really curious what the NWDA and/or the city are doing or plan on doing to make it easier for residents to park near their residences. I would much prefer a Zone K pass over my Zone L since there are more spots (not just unused, but overall as well) near my house in another zone that I can never use, yet everyone parks in my zone all the time. We are absolutely swamped with people here and need protection.

Is anything being done or considered for making Zone L (at least the part south of Glisan and east of 20th) into an All-Day Zone? If not, why not?

Answer from Tavo Cruz, NWDA VP and Ad Hoc Parking Committee Chair: The short answer is that there are no current plans to make Zone L into an all-day zone.

By way of background, Zone K was established several years ago by the residents of Zone K (and the businesses in Zone K) as a special parking “zone.” They circulated a petition and pursued this through the City, and eventually, Zone K was implemented through adoption of a special ordinance for that area. The primary intent of Zone K was to dissuade commuters to downtown from parking in Zone K and walking to work, thereby avoiding the cost of parking in the core of the city. On the other hand, Zone L was also established several years ago to protect residents of that area from the effects of Portland Beaver baseball games at PGE Park. When the Beavers left and the Timbers came online, the City and the management of Jeld-Wen Field set about to update Zone L for Timbers games. The NWDA had some input into that process, but not as much as we would have liked, and the implementation of the new Zone L was not handled well. The City has admitted this, and has promised that if a new parking plan is adopted for the larger NW District, the implementation will be handled better than it was for Zone L.

Also, you should know that the NWDA attempted to incorporate Zone K (and Zone L) into the broader parking plan for the district. However, the residents of Zone K objected loudly to this, and insisted that their area be treated separately. So, as a compromise, the City agreed to carve out Zone K from the proposed plan and to leave it on its own. If the parking plan is adopted, Zone K will not change. Zone L will continue as a special arrangement for events at Jeld-Wen Field, and there are no plans to convert it to another zone like Zone K.

Although the NWDA supports the current draft parking plan, it is unclear whether it will have sufficient support within City Council to be implemented. If it does pass, then you may want to bring your concerns to the TPMA (Transportation and Parking Management Association) which will be formed as part of the plan to address the concerns of specific areas. If it does not pass, then you might consider discussing this issue with other residents of your area to see if they would support converting Zone L to an all-day zone, or if they might support an expansion of the existing Zone K to include your specific area. In my personal opinion, I would prefer to see the neighborhood adopt a district-wide parking plan that addresses concerns more globally, rather than see multiple zones adopted within the district, all with different rules and procedures.


4 Responses to “Permit Zone Question – 3/5/12”

  1. Pete Colt on March 23rd, 2012 7:10 am

    (from the city of portland website)


    An Area Parking Permit Program is designed to help citizens who live or work in non-metered areas by controlling commuter parking in their area. This is done through a permit system that limits those commuters who don’t live or work in that area. Those who do have businesses or live in the area may apply to purchase a permit, allowing parking beyond the visitor limit. The permit also allows holders a certain number of guest passes.

    This program began in 1981 in response to citizen concerns about commuter parking in neighborhoods. Commuter parking originates from outside the permit area and has no apparent connection or business within the permit area.

    There are currently several zones in operation. Program hours are designed around the needs of each neighborhood and are in effect during the busiest parking times.

    For the hours of operation of a particular zone, please refer to signage, or contact our office at and 503-823-5185

    Annexing into a neighboring Area Parking Permit Program that already exists takes approximately three to six months.

    To set up a new area under the program, certain requirements must be met as explained in Title 16 of the City Code:

    The City must agree that parking spaces in the area will be 75% occupied (25% by commuter parking) at least four days per week and nine months per year.

    The area requesting the Area Parking Permit Program must work through its neighborhood association or business district association as defined by City Code (Sections 3.96.020 and 3.96.030). If the area is not formally organized, requesters should directly contact the Office of Neighborhood Involvement ( ,, 503-823-4519).

    The City Traffic Engineer must agree that the Area Parking Permit Program would promote benefits within the designated area. These benefits may include:
    Increased access to area residents and businesses
    Reduced traffic congestion
    Increased traffic/pedestrian safety

    Adverse effects that may prevent implementation of the Area Parking Permit Program may include the:
    Lack of alternative modes of transportation
    Availability of simpler, cheaper solutions
    Legal existence of more than one firm with 50 or more employees that could not operate under the permit system constraints


    A resident may request to have an area set up in a permit program through a community-initiated petition with signatures representing at least 50 percent of the affected addresses (one signature per address) that is submitted to the appropriate neighborhood association and the business district association. The petition should include a description of each of the following:

    Parking Problem
    Probable cause of the problem
    Proposed boundaries of the congested area
    Number of individual addresses in the congested area
    The annual permit fee of the program (this is provided by City staff)

    The requestor may contact the City Area Parking Permit Program Administrator, (503) 823-5185 to discuss what is needed for the petition, how to collect addresses, what the boundaries should be, what the next steps are to complete the process and other questions that they may have.

    This is a program that is initiated by the area residents and business owners and it is important to understand that the first step must be carried out by those affected by the problem, and that a majority of them must desire the change. Once the petition is received by the City the request is processed to determine that all the required information has been collected showing neighborhood support for the program before the City will proceed.

    Pete Colt

  2. Ron Walters on March 22nd, 2012 3:14 pm

    Thanks for your comments, Pete. It would be great if you could share your opinions without attacking neighbors who volunteer their time trying to improve the quality of life for all of us. We’re all in this together. Wouldn’t it be better to try to build each other up rather than tear each other down. I can live with you making uninformed and inaccurate statements about NWDA’s efforts regarding Parking and Zone K, but it’s really disappointing to see you insult friends and neighbors.

  3. Pete Colt on March 22nd, 2012 2:44 pm

    Hi Sarah P,

    You hit the nail on the head.

    I want to share that you will do better to email the members of the city council individually than to deal with NWDA concerning this problem.

    From my years of experience with NWDA, including being chair of two committees, I can say with certainty that you should expect more excuses than leadership from the NWDA Board … like the excuses above from Tavo Cruz concerning Zone K.

    Why do I say this?

    Because if what Mr. Cruz says about NWDA wanting to merge Zone L and Zone K is true and he states : “However, the residents of Zone K objected loudly to this, and insisted that their area be treated separately,” then Mr. Cruz and NWDA are ignoring the loud objections from residents in Zone L near the soccer stadium to have just ONE HOUR PARKING during games instead of the 90 minutes NWDA supports … is this hypocrisy?

    By the way, I have yet to see anyone ticketed in front of my house on NW 18th between Davis and Everett during games and believe me, Sarah, when I say that I watch the parking like a hawk, and cars start parking at 4pm, and stay there sometimes till after the bars close … and never get ticketed.

    Sarah, it hurts me to say that you should know that NWDA has a long, long history of being tone deaf.

    For example, at the meeting the mayor moderated last autumn about parking more that 120 residents and business owners showed up – every single one of them opposed the NWDA and mayor’s parking plan.

    And I felt bad for the members of NWDA who were at that meeting as person after person stood up and said:
    “NWDA does not represent me.”
    “NWDA wants to divide my street into two zones so I can’t park on one side of my own street.”
    “It’s better to do nothing than have the NWDA parking plan.”

    It was an embarrassing evening for NWDA.

    And just last month there was another embarrassing evening for NWDA at the mayoral debate held at the NW Cultural Center in our Nob Hill East Neighborhood within the NW District.

    The upshot is that once again the NWDA parking plan was belittled … this time by the mayoral candidates

    And why did I say, ” … our neighborhood within the NW District?”

    Because the outdated map on the NWDA website lacks complete and comprehensive data and the NW District is actually five – or more – distinct neighborhoods:
    -Nob Hill East … W Burnside to NW Lovejoy & 15th to 20th
    -Nob Hill West … W Burnside to NW Lovejoy & 21st to 23rd
    -Uptown … W Burnside to NW Lovejoy & 24th to Cornell
    -Slabtown … NW Lovejoy to the Willamette and 16th to 22nd
    -Willamette Heights … NW Lovejoy to Vaughn and NW 23rd to Forest Park

    And it’s a fantasy to expect someone who lives in one neighborhood … for example near Forest Park … to comprehend what goes on in another neighborhood … for example near Couch Park.

    How can anyone who lives in a single-family home neighborhood in Willamette Heights on NW Pettygrove & 24th, or NW Raleigh & 29th, or near the entrance to Forest Park be in touch with the parking problems, street drugs, street drunks, prostitution, and livability problems on NW Glisan at 20th or NW Everett at 18th?

    And if that Willamette Heights resident – or Slabtown resident – or Uptown resident claims to be in touch with Nob Hill East, then I challenge that person to tell me what goes on at NW 20th between Flanders and Glisan … or NW 18th between Davis and Everett.

    I can no more tell them what it’s like to live in a 2,000 – 5,000 sq. ft. single-family home in Willamette Heights near Forest Park than they can tell me what it’s like to live in Nob Hill East in a multi-family building on NW 20th between Flanders & Glisan, or on NW 18th between Davis and Everett.

    I can no more tell them what happens in their neighborhood than they can tell me what happens in mine at midnight, 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am, 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

    And please NWDA Board or executives … none of this: “Well I walk through your neighborhood every day, so I’m in touch with your neighborhood.” That’s just an embarrassment to the person saying it.

    Bottom line, Sarah, is that the problem is … with the exception of a few … all the NWDA decision-makers don’t live in Nob Hill East.

    In fact, Sarah, much to my dismay … NWDA board members from wealthy Willamette Heights … want to give *extra parking passes* to Chapman School where their children go – while here, in Nob Hill East, NWDA ignores the fact that residents want ONE HOUR PARKING during stadium events … not just during Timbers games but during ALL stadium events.

    I think it’s a shame and a stain on NWDA’s credibility, Sarah, that NWDA listens to the unsustainable single-family home residents of Zone K … but not to sustainable multi-family building residents of Zone L.

    Especially when those of us who live in the more sustainable multi-family buildings on a major street like NW 18th can only park on one side of the street because it’s Zone K parking on the east side of NW 18th – and Zone L parking on the west side of NW 18th.

    Is this “equity”?

    And then on top of that, Sarah, NWDA seems to ignore the fact that Zone L in Nob Hill East has the same parking problems as Zone K … and then some.


    Because drivers commute to Zone K and Zone L in Nob Hill East to park … and drivers park for the stadium … and for First Thursday … and for every parade and event Downtown.

    And then … making parking in Zone L in Nob Hill East worse than in Zone K, in Nob Hill East Zone L drivers park for St. Mary’s Cathedral, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Congregation Beth Israel, Couch Park, and the bars and restaurants on
    NW 21st.

    Sarah, car-centric cities like Los Angeles actually protect residential neighborhoods like ours that are near major commercial zones by giving residents parking permits and then towing away cars between 6pm and 7am that don’t have resident or guest permits.

    Boston does the same in Back Bay where no one can park on some residential streets without a permit. Period.

    And in the NW District in Washington DC where residents have to deal with commuter parking and major event parking … just like we have to deal with … the Logan Circle Neighborhood Association recently voted in favor of “Enhanced Residential Permit Parking” that is already in effect in other parts of Washington DC.

    What does this mean?

    It means the Logan Circle Neighborhood Association in Washington DC listens … and ACTS!

    It means that between 7am and midnight one side of every street is RESERVED FOR RESIDENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Here’s the link, and when the page comes up, click on No.11 March 14 2012 and the article, titled “Logan readies resident-only parking is on the front page.

    Why are we, in supposedly “green’, “sustainable”, and “pedestrian-friendly” NW Portland not as progressive as these other cities are?

    Why are we behind the curve?

    It’s time for NWDA to do what they’re supposed to do … represent residents.

    If they can’t, it’s time to dissolve NWDA and create four new neighborhood associations that will do what NWDA can’t, or will not do – show some courage.

    Pete Colt

  4. Sarah P on March 12th, 2012 6:55 pm

    In my experience Zone K does tend to be more open than Zone L on streets farther into NW but not on my block. Between the pearl shoppers and some commuters in the summer time it’s almost impossible to find parking. Originally I thought that we should keep zone K the way it is, but in reality we need to be on the Timbers blackout list too. I’m sick of hearing fans say “You can park here it’s zone M.” It is doubly bad because then Zone L is closed off so our ability to park shrinks greatly and most of the paid lots get full as well. While I’m still not sure about combining zones, because I do think Zone K (at least along 17th/18th) has a lot of Pearl and clubbing traffic on the weekends. I do think that it would be good to have Zone L have some sort of time limit during the day, I understand the frustration of the neighborhood being parked up by people looking for free parking when paid lots are open.