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Public parking lot signage in downtown Tillamook.

The Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce went to bat for downtown businesses and their employees’ parking needs at the Dec. 16 Tillamook City Council meeting.

The Chamber requested, with the recommendation from Public Works, that the City consider amending the parking restrictions to both remove parking time limits and allow for employee/employer parking in all public parking lots through the winter months.

“We want workers and business owners to feel safe getting to their parking,” Chamber Executive Director Justin Aufdermauer said.

Aufdermauer noted that, currently because of the time of year, workers are walking past empty parking lots to get to their own parking.

“We need lights up, but right now employees and employers have to park outside of Stillwell, Fifth, and Laurel,” he said. “If you’re working downtown your parking several blocks away.”

The Chamber stated in a letter to the City Council that they have “anecdotally monitored the use of these parking areas and feel that the benefits of these amendments far outweigh any concerns” and cited that they primary made the request due to safety, weather, and seasonality.

The City Council unanimously agreed to trial the idea this year through March.

The Chamber is working to communicate to downtown business about the temporary change.

The areas affected include the public parking lots on First Street (across from Kimmel Hardware), in front of Sue H. Elmore Park, and on the east side of Ivy Avenue between Second and Third Street.

The Chamber noted that these changes will require the City to change signage twice per year and also forego issuing permits for this seven-month period of time. The current permit will need no change as it is month-to-month, however there would be a reduction in revenue to the City for the decreased permit season.

This parking trial only applies to public parking lots, not street parking.

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