Airport pitches plans to Parkrose business people

Learn about changes at the PDX Parking lot, area road improvements, and the possibility that the Port of Portland offices might move to outer East Portland, by reading this …

Port of Portland’s Dan Brame, showing Parkrose Business Association members where new parking facilities are likely to be built.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although it was opened just a few years ago, the short-term parking garage at Portland International Airport (PDX) is beginning to fill up, according to the Port of Portland’s Dan Brame — so they’ll build another.

“It reflects poorly on the airport,” Brame says as he addresses members of the Parkrose Business Association at their September monthly meeting. “In a survey we conducted, the main concern about PDX wasn’t security, but instead, problems with parking.”

In the near term, he adds, they’re considering increasing the parking rate from $14 to $18 per 24-hour period. “But, we expect raising the price will discourage only 200 cars a night.”

To address the tight parking situation, Brame says they’ll build a new parking garage immediately behind the current structure. This one will boast 3,500 spaces; 500 spots for rental car companies.

They expect start construction in next fall, and it should be ready to use in 2009.

Parking ‘valet’ to be installed
“With 3,300 spaces, it can be difficult to find a spot,” Brame continues. “When we get down to the last few spaces, finding an empty spot is challenging.”

To alleviate the problem, a new computerized directional system will tell drivers entering the “double helix” ramp how many spaces on each floor; and tell indicate where empty spaces are located.

“We’ve also installed a ‘pre-pay’ system,” Brame continues. “You can pay for your parking at a kiosk on the way to your car in the garage. If you’ve prepaid, you drive past the line of attendants, scan your paid ticket, and go.”

Port offices may move east
According to the port official, the top floor of the new parking structure may be constructed to house the Port’s headquarters offices.

“Downtown Portland, we have 300 employees who spend 70% of their time working on airport matters,” Brame tells us. “Engineering, Information Technology, and Human Resources all spend time a good deal of their time at PDX.”

In fact, Brame says workers annually spend 15,000 hours riding light rail back and forth from their current downtown offices. “When they are downtown, they aren’t connected with their prime customers ‚Äì the 14 million people pass though the airport.”

The new offices would provide 60,000 sq. ft. of space, into which about 100 workers would move. “The Port has made a commitment to sustainable building. It will have onsite waste water treatment and power generation, and will be built of sustainable materials.”

While the office is still on the drawing boards, Brame says the new parking lot construction has been approved.

Scott King, Port of Portland, describes some of the many projects that airport planners have been developing to alleviate traffic snarls near the airport.

Controlling ground traffic
As the airport gets busier, vehicle traffic to and from and surrounding PDX increases, says Scott King, also with the Port of Portland. “I know; I’m a local resident, and I live in the neighborhood.”

King says that PDX operates on a conditional use permit from the city. “It was updated in 2003, and we were told we had to do certain improvements. With the 2005 Oregon Investment Transportation Act in place, the Port submitted projects related to that fund. Other funding comes from the city.”

When the recent change allowing large-scale retail stores to be built at Cascade Station, King says more projects came on the map. “Most are low-impact in construction. But we also have a major projects, like one with a proposed ‘flyover’ ramp to ease freeway congestion.”

Of specific interest to attendees of the meeting was the concurrent proposal to widen Sandy Blvd. at 105th Ave.

Meet Commissioner Dan Saltzman in Parkrose Oct. 19
This month, the Parkrose Business Association welcomes Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who will speak on issues affecting the Parkrose area on October 19. The Member Moment will be offered by Terry Brier of Davey/Organicare.

Come at 11:30 a.m. so you’ll have time to meet these great folks. And, you’ll enjoy the best business lunch at town at Steamers Restaurant, 8030 NE Sandy Blvd. (east of NE 82nd Ave.); NO reservations required. For more information, check

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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