Two seemingly minor and unconnected items on the upcoming Portland City Council agenda are worth noting this week, mostly because they concern subjects everyone has at least some kind of opinion about: Parking. And... shit.
First the parking! In the next step for Portland's ongoing plan to frustrate annoying/clever drivers who park in the Central Eastside Business District and hoof it over a bridge to beat downtown meter costs, the city is looking to raise the amount it charges for all-day permits (pdf) in the zone.
If approved, neighbors and businesses hoping to park all day at nearly 5,000 on-street spaces would pay $70 a year, up from $60. The $10 surcharge is a tiny one. sought by the neighborhood's business group, is meant to help fund an advisory committee charged with overseeing all other parking reforms in the zone, including new meters on MLK and Grand.
And now the poop! After years of tolerating scofflaws who let their idiot dogs run free at parks and terrorize people, as well as the countless oafs who can't be bothered to be pick up their dogs' stinky brown leavings, the city's parks bureau wants to give park rangers permission to punish the wicked with civil fines as big as $150 (pdf).
The city used to pay Multnomah County Animal Services $70,000 a year to help police poop-and-leash violators. But it stopped the contract because of budget cuts. Revenue from the fines is expected to help pay for four part-time rangers and someone to run the new enforcement program (a total of $100,000). Right now, rangers aren't allowed to write tickets—just issue exclusions. Leftover revenue would help fund regular parks programs.
And it's not like Portland, which touts its 32 off-leash areas in its parks system, is known for its unfriendliness to people who bring pets for parks.
"Despite these efforts, and the efforts of many dog owners to encourage respectful behavior," according to talking points on the ordinance provided by the bureau, "a culture of non-compliance with leash and scoop laws exists throughout Portland's park system."