Today is Park(ing) Day, a celebratory reminder that streets are public space

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Today the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation is using our streets to their fullest potential. Instead of cheap storage for private vehicles, they’ve handed out special permits for creative placemaking installations as part of our local observance of International Park(ing) Day.

The idea behind Park(ing) Day is to transform metered parking spots into spaces where people can enjoy a bit of greenspace, entertainment, and relaxation. For PBOT, who has participated in the event since 2006, it’s a way to encourage people to re-think how we use public right-of-way. They granted special permits (for just $25) to anyone who wanted to take over a parking space (as long as their plans met specific guidelines of course).

A scene from a Park(ing) Day installation on SW Stark in 2013.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)


For their part, PBOT will put out their famous mini-golf course — a.k.a. Parkways Putt-Putt — on the street in front of City Hall from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. They’ll also have a Plinko game with prizes and drinks for those who stop by. PBOT’s involvement is part of their “Portland In The Streets” initiative which is a part of their Livable Streets Strategy, which they hope to present to City Council next month.

There are nine other installations throughout the central city. PBOT has published an interactive Google Map with a description of what to expect at each one.

Here’s what you’ll see on NW Glisan between 11th and 12th:

Make sure to check out some of the installations as you roll around town today. As you do, ask yourself why we allow so much of our publicly-owned street space to be devoted to private automobile storage. Imagine all the cool spaces we could enjoy year-round if we dared to use curbspace differently.

Learn more about all the local Park(ing) Day festivities here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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