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How I (Sort of) Helped Fix Portland’s Parking Meters

I rarely use cash so I rarely have change to plunk into the old style parking meters in Portland whose basic design hasn’t changed in over 70 years. The City of Portland has been slowly rolling out new, modern parking meters and they are awesome! 

These babies run on solar power, take change AND credit and debit cards. Now I can just swipe my card, select the amount of time I want up to two hours and print a ticket that I place on the dashboard of my car showing when my time expires. It’s a brilliant design!

Well almost brilliant. The one disadvantage these have is they don’t like ice very much. During the ice storm I went out to swipe my card and the card reader was packed with ice! I shot this video and posted it to Instagram to demonstrate my plight.

Since I couldn’t get a ticket out of the machine, I figured this would have me covered if I should get a ticket from parking enforcement.

Shortly after I posted my video, I heard from Tom Jarvais, the meter supervisor for the City of Portland who asked me to send him a copy of the video so he can send it to the company that makes the meters. A couple of weeks later, covers were being installed over the card readers on all the meters. Ta da!

So you’re welcome. Who we really should thank though is Tom. If you see him out on the streets of Portland installing these covers on a meter, give him a pat on the back and maybe a cup of coffee. He’s working hard in the cold to keep these things working.

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