Handwritten parking tickets are history in Portland, now that the city has launched the first phase of a new digital parking enforcement system.

The city last week began issuing digital parking violation notices, a first step toward a system that ultimately will allow downtown visitors to get text alerts on their phones when their time is about to expire and even use their phones to buy more time in some cases.

The digital upgrade was announced in July along with a 25-cent-per-hour increase in parking meter rates in the city. The increase from $1 an hour to $1.25 is expected to help boost parking revenues in the next year by $600,000.

Portland’s parking enforcement staff are now equipped with computer tablets and wireless printers instead of pens and clipboards. Violators and scofflaws will still find the notices tucked under their windshield wipers, but the tickets can be paid online within minutes of a violation being issued.

The city issues more than 120,000 citations a year, and it says the new system will improve efficiency, enforcement and data collection, and retrieval.

In the next couple of months, Portland will launch a mobile app through its vendor, Passport, that will allow parkers to check time remaining on their meters and purchase more time using their cell phones, if they have time available.

Motorists would still have to adhere to the two-hour limit on metered spots, so could still be ticketed for leaving a vehicle in a two-hour spot for three hours, for example.

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