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'We are using the money to benefit the community'

Smart parking meters are installed in Downtown Eugene on January 9th, 2018 in Eugene,Ore. (SBG/Clara Benitez)

EUGENE, Ore.- The era of free parking is ending in parts of Downtown Eugene.

More than 280 smart parking meters are being installed in the popular twelve-block area of downtown. The City of Eugene took away downtown parking meters in 2010 to attract more people to downtown.

Now, in an effort to raise new revenue, parking meters are making a comeback.

The new, state-of-the-art parking meters will accept coins, credit cards, Apple and Google Pay, as well as being connected with an app.

The application, called 'Park Smarter,' will let you know if there are vacant or occupied spaces around you.

The app is being developed by The City of Eugene, and will be live to use by next month.

Parking manager, Jeff Petry, says this is the type of technology the City of Eugene needs.

“We've got the World Championships coming here in 2021, so the technology that we are putting in place today, our international visitors will expect see in our community,” says Petry.

Petry says the money collected from the meters will be used for downtown development.

“The parking meter revenue will fund the police services, the downtown murals," said Petry. "We are using the money to benefit the community."

The new parking meters are expected to be in operation by Friday.

Free parking will still be available after 6 PM and on the weekends in the parking garages, and your first hour in the parking garage is free during the weekday.

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