EUGENE, Ore. -- Crews are literally rolling out a new parking lot in downtown Eugene. It's a temporary fix as Lane County looks for a long-term solution.
A durable reusable material is being rolled out like a carpet on the old city hall lot, where county leaders hope to build the new courthouse.
Lane County spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said if voters approve the courthouse bond next week, construction for that project could start within the next two years, and the parking lot will be rolled up and reused somewhere else.
Ashbridge said the material has a lifespan of three to five years and said it's the first time the product has been used west of the Mississippi River, according to the company Rollpark.
"We're excited to test the product, see how it works and help provide some of that parking relief downtown," Ashbridge said.
The lot will have close to 280 spaces, including seven handicapped spaces, and can be used by both downtown employees with a permit and everyone else who will pay by the hour.
County Operations Director Greg Rikhoff said using the material is less costly than traditional paved surfaces and provides surface water filtration to help protect groundwater.
Deirdre Stirpe, owner of downtown cookie bakery Crumb Together, said any new place to park is a plus, but she's keeping her fingers crossed for a new permanent place.
"As a small business owner, people are always talking about the challenges of finding parking," Stirpe said. "The garages are always full, and it's hard to find a spot."
County leaders hope this temporary lot will help ease parking problems while they look for a more long-term solution.
"This is what we think is a creative short-term solution that makes good use of what right now is empty space downtown," Ashbridge said.
Ashbridge said while recent rain has slowed down some of the work, they hope to have it open by June 1 for permit parking and paid public parking soon after. They expect to recover the costs of the installation through fees over the next two years.
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