By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Drivers and businesses are reacting to big changes coming to Bend’s only parking garage.
City crews were out again Thursday, working on installing an automatic arm to control access to the Centennial parking garage.
“Mainly as a response to year long complaints by residents and businesses nearby, that the garage had a lot of safety issues,” said Tobi Marx, Parking Services Division Manager.
In the past year, Bend police logged nearly 4,070 calls to the parking garage.
“I’ve seen some people doing like drifting the corners and stuff,” said frequent garage skateboarder Logan Marques.
Marques says the parking garage is a popular hangout spot for what he thinks are high schoolers.
“Usually, it’s actually like 25, 30 people,” Marques said. So big groups for sure.”
Local businesses agree it is a trouble-spot, but some were caught off guard by the new electronic pay station and validation system.
“It would have been nice to know, at least rather than here you go, maybe a newsletter,” said Alex Jett, a broker at Knightsbridge Real Estate.
Marx says the new program will still offer free parking.
“I go to get my hair done or eat at a restaurant, I ask them, do you validate parking at the garage,” Marx said. If they say yes, they then validate the ticket.”
Customers can scan a QR code or get a coupon code from the business.
Marx says businesses will get a certain amount of free hours per month.
“I would like to know what all is going on,” Jett asked. “Like, are we going to charge by the hour?”
The Downtown Bend Business Association worked with the city and says it is excited to roll out the new program.