Jeffery Weaver sees his biggest challenge as being diplomatic with parking scofflaws downtown.
Weaver, who starts today as Astoria’s community outreach officer, plans to keep his patrols sporadic to prevent people from catching on and skirting the rules.
“It won’t hurt my feelings, I know that,” he said of difficult interactions. “I’m pretty thick-skinned. I just hope people see me as less of a ticket-writer, and more of a tool for the city they can use.”
A Warrenton native, Weaver has spent most of his adult life on the North Coast working in hospitality and restaurants. A cider fan, he recently got a job at Reveille Ciderworks. He saw an ad on Facebook and applied to replace Ronni Harris as the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association’s community outreach officer.
“I just see it more as providing a valuable service to the community, rather than being a guy nobody likes,” Weaver said. “There’s a big need for parking downtown. That’s why there’s a two-hour limit. I just see it as a good opportunity to get to know people downtown, be an ambassador.”
Two-hour parking covers most of Duane and Commercial streets, along with Marine Drive, between Eighth and 15th streets from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Downtown merchants and employees are also not supposed to park in front of their storefronts. All around downtown are three-hour or all-day parking areas.
Until Harris started a year ago, enforcement had been nonexistent since the 2013 retirement of former parking officer John Hord.
Downtown merchants had a love-hate relationship with Harris, who could be seen downtown marking tires and helping to direct visitors to local attractions. Between January and September of last year, Harris issued more than 1,000 parking tickets, including nearly 900 to drivers from Oregon and more than 120 to Washingtonians.
Harris amicably ended her stint last year and returned to being a full-time artist.A studio she shows at in St. Thomas was reconstructed following a hurricane.
Sarah Lu Heath, executive director of the downtown association, said downtown parking behaviors have improved since her presence, with more spaces for customers.