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PORTLAND -- A proposal coming before the city council later this fall would replace the daily flat rate for parking at the Oregon Zoo with a metered system like the hourly rates in downtown Portland.

If approved, the meters would be in place late next winter.

With the sun shining on Thursday it was a very busy day at the Oregon Zoo, where you pay $4 to park with your $10.50 adult admission.

Along with families who crowd the popular destination, Oregon Zoo members who pay $114 a year for a family will see their free parking end.

It would be a bummer to have to pay for parking and the meters would cause you to take more time getting the kids into the zoo, remarked Zoo Member Ashley Marvin.

Kim Smith, the Director of the Oregon Zoo, says the meters would be more efficient and the revenues would go toward improvements.

We ve been working for two years on how to improve parking for all visitors to Washington Park. Smith points out the huge lot, which accommodates up to a thousand cars, is not owned by the Zoo.

Zoo visitors who use mass transit get a $1.50 discount on the admission price. More:Visiting the Oregon Zoo.

The current parking lot is city property maintained by the Portland Parks and Rec Department. Officials there told KGW they pretty much expect the change to happen, with the meters installed in February or March.

In addition to the Oregon Zoo, the lot services The Children s Museum, the Forestry Center and Hoyt Arboretum.

If it will help with the traffic and getting a parking spot, then I m all for it, commented Zoo Member Tiffani Saxton. The zoo notified members this week about the possible parking change so they wouldn t be caught off guard.

We hope our members recognize the Zoo is more than parking, Smith said. Our admission and parking rates are below average in the region and nationally. We re still a screaming deal for the community.

Click for more info from the Oregon Zoo

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