EUGENE, Ore. — Free parking could soon be a thing of the past in downtown Eugene.

The Register-Guard reports ( ) city councilors debated the topic Monday, and most seem ready to return to parking meters.

The council authorized free parking in 2010 to help downtown businesses following the Great Recession.

Councilor Alan Zelenka said there’s no evidence that free parking generated more economic activity. He says it has turned downtown into an employee parking lot, reducing turnover.

The lack of turnover has been a chief complaint of businesses lobbying to end free parking.

The city estimates a return to metered parking would generate $350,000 a year for its parking fund. The city plans to use the money to reduce a backlog of maintenance projects in its parking garages.

Information from: The Register-Guard,

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