Event parking zone around Jeld-Wen Field expands

Event parking zone around Jeld-Wen Field expands »Play Video
Event parking rates near Jeld-Wen Field are hurting some businesses that are as far as a half-mile away on game days. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The stadium parking zone near Portland’s Jeld-Wen Field is getting bigger.

It used to stop at Interstate 405 east of the stadium, but now it’s crept into downtown to Southwest 12th Avenue.

The price? $3.50 per hour, up from the standard $1.60 per hour when there isn’t a Timbers game or other event.

Willamette Week first reported on the expansion. KATU News confirmed that Mayor Charlie Hales didn’t know about the change. It was one of the final acts of former Transportation Bureau Chief Tom Miller, whom Hales fired before he took office. Miller was given power to expand the parking zone by former mayor Sam Adams.

Another group caught off guard: Downtown Portland businesses along Southwest Jefferson Street between 12th and 13th Avenues. Customers are paying nearly twice as much to park and spend money at bars and restaurants during Timbers games, despite being half a mile away from Jeld-Wen Field.

“We were expecting a large crowd for the home opener last weekend, but we were pretty much dead, and the streets were a lot more barren,” said Cory Eckberg, co-owner of Gnarly Gray bar and restaurant.

Kelsey Jacob makes and delivers pizza for 21st Century Pizza.

“It’s crazy having to pay almost $1 just for the 15 minutes of parking just to deliver a pizza real quick,” he said. “It’s really ridiculous.”

On game days, Jacob says he pays more than $10 for three hours of parking. The extra parking fee is eating into profits.

But the city makes more money, which is why Miller pushed for the increase.

“It’s still kind of a bit of a hike, and if you’re going to park here you might as well park closer if you pay the same,” said Eckberg.