The City of Portland has been slowly replacing the old fashioned parking meters with new meter boxes that not only take coins, but credit cards. With new technology comes a new way of doing things, and that allows you to do three things you couldn't with an old style meter.

First off, let me explain how the new meters work. You insert your money or your credit card and press a button to select the amount of time you want to park for. Then the machine will print out a ticket that you place on your dashboard.

This shows that date and the time that your parking expires. When the parking enforcement officer checks your car, rather than look at the meter, the officer will look at the ticket to make sure it hasn't expired.

Now here are the three tricks you can do with these new meters that you couldn't before.

1. Park Anywhere In the City You Want

With the old meters, your money was put on that one space. With this ticket you've bought time in any space. So if you want to park in a space with an old meter, look for a nearby new meter. Purchase a ticket, put it on your dash and you're good! Even if that old style meter says expired, as long as you have a valid ticket on your dash, you won't get a ticket on your windshield!

2. Change Parking Spaces Without Putting Money In a New Meter

You bought two hours worth of parking, but you need to make several stops around downtown. With the old meters you'd have to put money in a meter at every place you parked. Now buy your two hours, put the meter ticket on your dash and you can space hop! Stop for lunch, go to city hall, shop at Reny's. As long as you can find an open space, you don't have to put more money in a meter until the time shown on your meter ticket. Sweet!

3. Pay For Your Parking Early

Do you park before 9AM when the meters become active? Here's the best trick of all. You can prepay for your parking! Since parking is free until 9AM, you can buy your meter ticket as early as 6AM and your time won't start until 9! Let's say you park at 6AM. Buy a two hour maximum meter ticket at 6AM and the time won't say 9AM. It'll say 11AM since it's free until 9.

The City of Portland has a webpage that gives more details on the new meters, how to use them and provides a map showing you where they are located. I love these things and can't wait until all the old meters have been upgraded.