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Salem Group Fights Downtown Parking Meters

Some business and property owners are organizing a petition drive to block parking meters in downtown Salem.

A task force recommended metered parking replace free on-street parking. It said permits and a tax on businesses don’t raise enough to pay for parking facilities, including $500,000 a year for parking garage maintenance.

The Salem Statesman Journal reports that the petitioners face a July 8 deadline to get a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot. One petitioner says 50 businesses have signed on.

Resident Carole Smith says downtown interests aren’t against meters if they’re aimed at managing parking. She said the group objects to meters aimed solely at raising money for the city, without benefit to businesses or customers.

The City Council is expected to take up the idea in the fall.

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