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Portland won't move forward with contract tainted by bribery scandal

Portland won't move forward with contract tainted by bribery scandal
Ellis McCoy, Portland's former parking manager. (KATU News/File Photo)

Portland city commissioner Steve Novick has decided not to move forward with plans to purchase new parking meters from a company linked to Portland’s former parking manager, Ellis McCoy.

McCoy pleaded guilty earlier this year to accepting bribes related to the awarding of the contract.

The company, Cale Parking Systems USA, will still service existing meters.

“We are looking at what the next steps are,” said Novick.

Novick, who last week had advocated moving forward with the purchase, said he changed his mind after hearing from current and former city employees.

“Last week the thinking was need a bunch more meters to implement the Northwest Parking Plan,” Novick said. “And then I started hearing from people that they didn’t feel comfortable moving forward with a contract that had a cloud of scandal about it.”

Novick said he then spoke with the city’s new transportation director, Leah Treat. Treat told him that she wasn’t comfortable continuing with the contract.

Based on that – and despite the fact that everyone agreed the meters work well and the deal was a good one – Novick decided it was time to move on.

“While we need the meters, we are going to restart the process,” he said.

The Northwest Parking Plan will still likely be adopted by the city commission on Wednesday. What will change, according to Novick, is when the plan will be implemented.

“The plan had been to have it go into effect in January,” he said. “That clearly will now be delayed.”

Cale Parking Systems is now under new management and will be allowed to re-bid for the contract.