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Downtown parking may decrease
Downtown parking may decrease to one hour
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A final decision on changing two-hour parking spaces in downtown McMinnville to one hour is being sent to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for its consideration, but increased enforcement for the current parking time is on its way.
City Safety Committee members met Tuesday and could not come to a decision on the time limit change, opting instead to allow the full board to decide. However, after concerns were raised during the first meeting March 8 that people are getting far more than two hours due to the officer not making regular trips down the street, McMinnville Police Department is going to increase enforcement.  
According to Police Chief Bryan Denton, the officer who patrols the area also has other duties that limit the amount of time available for that one specific task, but he has plans to correct that.
“I have a plan and I think I can get her downtown about every day to increase enforcement,” Denton said. “If we do this, I don’t know if you would still want to change the parking limit but it would be fine if you did. I think I can get that accomplished without hiring anybody else.”
Alderman Everett Brock says if the city changes the parking limit to one hour, an additional officer will be required and the fine will need to be increased from $6.
“If we go to one hour, it’s not going to work unless you do two things: you will have to put two officers on the street and increase the fine. Going from two hours to one hour, you have to review the street twice as much. And, as long as we keep the fine at $6, people just look at that as a cost of doing business. I would be for upping the fine, too. If it’s the same people who are habitually doing it, then you can break them of it if you give them a couple of $20 tickets and not $6.”
The parking ticket fine is on a tier system. The first ticket is $6, the second ticket is $11, and the third ticket is $18.
Denton said if downtown is three-quarters full, the officer cannot walk the street in one hour because she must mark the vehicle’s tire with chalk and write down the license plate number in that specific spot for review the next time she walks the street.
Denton says the issue here is a longstanding one and he has talked to law enforcement officers across the state to see what has worked there, but nothing has.
“When I walked in the door 35 years ago, we had this exact problem. I’ve got friends and police chiefs in other departments across the state that I’ve talked to and they’ve told me they’ve had triple murders that have given them less trouble than parking downtown, literally.”
Committee members approved sending the parking limit change to the full board for its consideration, while Denton increases enforcement.