McCoy-brokered parking meter plan on hold

Ellis McCoy in an undated photo (KOIN 6 News, file)
Ellis McCoy in an undated photo (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A million dollar deal to bring parking meters to Northwest Portland appears to be on hold after Commissioner Steve Novick withdrew his support for the deal brokered by a former city official who was convicted of taking bribes.

The plan, put together by Ellis McCoy, was to have installed parking meters in Northwest Portland next January at a cost of $7,650 each.

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, July 9, 2013 (KOIN 6 News, file)

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, July 9, 2013 (KOIN 6 News, file)

Critics said the initial plan was brokered amidst corruption.

A man uses a parking meter in downtown Portland (KOIN 6 News, file)

A man uses a parking meter in downtown Portland (KOIN 6 News, file)

But until Monday, it was clear the city of Portland wanted to move ahead with the $1.3 million plan on NW 21st and 23rd streets.

The man behind the controversial deal is McCoy, who awaits sentencing for accepting thousands of dollars in bribes.

But the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Procurement Office and the city attorney all believed Portland was getting a very good price on the parking meters.

“The deal we got on meters from the company was actually pretty good,” said Novick.

But not everyone thought it was worth the price, including Willamette University law professor David Friedman.

A man grabs a ticket from a parking meter in downtown Portland (KOIN 6 News, file)

A man grabs a ticket from a parking meter in downtown Portland (KOIN 6 News, file)

“When you tamper with the competitive bidding process in any way shape or form you’re putting at risk the best deal, whether the best price or the best quality or the best features,” he told KOIN 6 News. “You’re not seeing the whole range of options.”

Another company, Parkeon, offered to provide meters for less money.

Novick said he decided that, ethically, he couldn’t move forward on the McCoy deal.

“It’s important for the city to send the message that, look, if somebody’s trying to bribe the city that has consequences,” Novick said.

The bidding process will re-start, he said. It may take longer to get the parking meters installed, but the city may get them at a bulk rate — which they did not have in the previous contract.

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