Parking “permits”: A license to steal

Surely I can’t be the first to point out that the parking situation on the Portland State campus is not only terrible, but seems to be made actively worse by the powers that be at PSU.

I’m not talking about the weekly hunting trips desperate students make every morning, vainly trying to find an empty parking spot for which they have a permit. No, I’m talking about the university hamstringing students who are moving out by preventing them from parking near their housing unit.

The weekend before spring finals was my self-designated move-out weekend from my apartment in the Parkway building. The housing office gave me a flashy little parking permit that, they said, would allow me to park behind my building (a proper parking lot, not garage or street parking) and load my van as needed.

After acquiring a van and parking, I placed the requisite parking pass on the dashboard as instructed. An hour later, after everything was loaded and my flat was clean, I was ready to leave. That’s when I noticed the parking violation on the windshield of the moving van.

Upon closer inspection, I realized the parking pass that PSU housing had issued me (compliments of Transportation and Parking Services) was not valid in that parking lot—the parking lot directly adjacent to my building. It was valid in a parking lot behind the science building three blocks away, and in another one next to the library, also three blocks away.

What kind of cruel and underhanded game is PSU trying to play? Finals week is stressful enough on students without the headaches of moving. Throw in graduation for around 20 percent of PSU students, and finals week becomes downright miserable. So why add to it by making people haul furniture and boxes halfway across campus because, for whatever reason, they limit the parking passes to less than half a dozen parking lots, only two of which are located near residence halls? Yes, that’s right: The parking permits are valid for parking lots that provide no use whatsoever for students moving out of housing.

I have been trying to think of what sadistic reason PSU would have to implement such a scheme. The only reason I can think of is it’s a cash cow: They patrol the parking lots during finals week and ticket those who are blissfully unaware that the smiling and friendly individual at the Montgomery Court desk happily handing out parking passes was in fact giving away a ticket for PSU to steal.

Perhaps this is a simple matter of inertia: It’s always been done this way, so it’ll stay this way. This would be a sign of stupidity rather than sadism. Bureaucratic inertia being what it is, such an explanation would be plausible, if not particularly likely; I can’t be the first one to notice this phenomenon.

The reason students are subjected to this is immaterial. PSU needs to recognize that this particular issue is one many students face (PSU has approximately 1,000 students in student housing during any given year, the vast majority of which move out during finals week). This university needs to allow students who are moving out to park in all campus lots. For the majority of PSU students, this is a non-issue, but for those students living in housing it’s a significant hindrance.