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PARKING PICKLE

"It is a competing demand for a finite resource," says Dave Allred, referring to the shrinking parking space throughout the city's Northwest neighborhoods. The district coalition planner for Neighbors West Northwest, Allred is particularly anxious these days. In three months, renovations on Civic Stadium will be completed. The additional activity there, including a new baseball team, will only worsen a parking crunch.

Although residents have long been agitating for the ballpark's developers and city council to propose solutions to the impending parking woes, such as implementing a permit parking system, they have only heard silence. Now they fear it may be too late.

In April, renovations on Civic Stadium are scheduled to be completed. The refurbished ballpark (to be renamed PGE Park) will be a beehive of activity, home to several sports team including AAA baseball team the Beavers. With expanded capacity up to 24,000 seats, owners expect a bigger crowd than ever before.

Although residents and merchants in Northwest Portland have balked at the proposed expansion of the ballpark--they almost derailed the project's plans based on parking concerns alone--no viable solutions to the parking crunch have yet been devised.

Mark Gardiner, general partner of Portland Family Entertainment, who operates the stadium, said they are working on solutions to keep adjacent neighborhoods from becoming the stadium's parking lot. Event tickets will double as a round trip ticket on public buses, says Gardiner. "We expect that we'll have a very high transit usership," he said, although he didn't cite any studies they had conducted to support this statement.

Recently, the City of Portland Office of Transportation assembled a taskforce to evaluate strategies from permit parking to metered parking. So far, however, no solutions have been proposed. Mary Volm, communications director for the office, was reluctant to talk about progress in finding a balance between residential and business interests.

The board isn't expected to make any changes to the current situation until May, weeks after the first pitch is thrown out in the remodeled stadium. RORY CARROLL

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