Drivers stung by parking tickets from private companies

PORTLAND, Ore. - Private companies are handing out parking tickets and it's legal.

In some cases the companies ticketed drivers' cars that were parked on the street. In other cases, drivers who parked in private lots got tickets even after they fed a meter and stayed within their time limits.

Many of the complaints from drivers have come from the blocks surrounding Union Station in Northwest Portland.

Drivers say they parked in a lot after seeing a green sign right next to green parking meters. The sign reads: "Pay to park all hours."

Drivers pumped their money into the meters and put the stickers in their windows. But it turns out they should have fed another meter not the green ones on the street that belong to the city of Portland.

On the other side of the train station, it's a private road that drivers told KATU News they thought was public and free.

Barbara McNasser got a ticket there when she was helping a friend move into a new apartment. She said she never noticed a sign posted on a light pole next to the street that said: "The Yards: Private Property: Parking for tenants & visitors with displayed permits only. Unauthorized vehicles subject to penalty or towing at owner's expense."

"It's not something that would catch your attention like: 'Watch out' or 'Beware' or 'No Parking,'" she said. "It was just this little tiny thing saying this is who we are and you're not allowed to park here."

Workers for Pacific Audit Solutions patrol the parking lots and the streets they own.

The company is owned by the same family that owns U-Park and city Center Parking.

They also own on-street meters on the waterfront at Southwest Hall and Southwest Moody.

It's all legal, according to an ordinance updated by the City Council three years ago.

Pacific Audit Solutions president, Mark Goodman, said the city and the Portland Development Commission have approved all of the signs and meters.

The city confirmed it did inspect and approve the meters and signage.

McNasser says she learned a valuable lesson not to assume anything when parking in the city of Portland.