I've been working in Downtown Portland for 13 years and have never gotten a parking ticket..until now. I have two.

Twice in a week I have walked out to my car seeing that dreaded slip tucked under my windshield with the useless map of places to park in Portland. I KNOW where to park in Portland! I just forgot to put money in the meter.

I arrive around 5AM in Portland and usually park on Commercial Street where there is free on street parking. Well over the past week it's rained a lot, and rather than walk in the pouring rain, I've parked on Temple Street right outside One City Center. I did it again today because I'm battling a gout flare up and it isn't very fun walking up from Commercial Street when your big toe is twice its normal size and hurts like hell.

Twice during the past week I realized after 10:30 that I forgot to put money in the meter. It's one of those new ticket meters where you can swipe your debit cards and it gives you a ticket to put on your dashboard with the time your parking expires. I've just been so damn busy I forgot to do that.

WJBQ.com

I could swipe my card when I first arrive. These boxes are smart. They know the meters aren't in force until 9AM so if you swipe your card before 9 it will give you until 11AM. However if you swipe more than three hours before the meters are in force it won't do that. I learned that one the hard way.

So now it looks like I have to resort to setting an alarm on my phone to remind me to go pay the meter after 6 when I park on Temple. Lesson learned.

What else have I learned from this?

1. I need to stop being so stupid.

2. Officer 861 patrols Temple Street each day at 10:30. My tickets say so.

3. Even at $15 a ticket, that's still way cheaper than parking in the One City Center parking garage.