Parking Lot Tax Considered Among Portland’s Downtown Plans

A proposal to tax and eventually prohibit parking lots in Portland’s Old Town Chinatown is pitting two powerful figures in Portland’s downtown land use politics against each other.
April 10, 2014, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Brad Schmidt reports on the political intrigue resulting from a proposal for a parking lot tax in part of Downtown Portland. “A politically connected downtown developer wants the city of Portland to ignite construction in Old Town Chinatown by taxing and eventually prohibiting surface parking lots in the historic Skidmore district,” writes Schmidt.

The developer pushing the parking lot tax is John Russell, who developed the PacWest Center in 1984. On the other side of the issue is Greg Goodman, who once owned the Portland parking “empire” known as City Center Parking. Although Goodman sold the company over a year ago, he still takes the plan as an affront.

The reasoning behind the parking lot tax proposal, according to Russell: “Portland needs a thriving historic district….But without strong financial disincentives, parking lot owners won’t voluntarily kill off their cash cows and build atop the asphalt.”

According to Schmidt’s report, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee charged with reviewing the ongoing planning process for the West Quadrant Plan is considering the parking tax proposal.

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