Parking in Portland is not always easy. Going up and down streets to try to find an open spot, can be very annoying. Sometimes you can find yourself circling around one area for 15 minutes before you are finally able to grab a spot. However, once you park you most likely have a time limit.

According to Bangor Daily News, the number of parking spaces downtown is roughly around 15,000 between street-side spaces and the multi-story garages. Of course, most of us know that there is a two-hour time limit when parking downtown, and there is practically no free parking. Because of the time limit and prices, it makes it pretty hard for people that work in Portland all day.

The Portland Downtown business association has administered a program that is funded by City Hall according to Bangor Daily News. This program was created to help low-wage workers by providing them with free parking for up to six hours a day.

What you may not know is that this parking program has actually been running for about a decade. According to Bangor Daily News, Portland Downtown is trying to make this more known due to the fact that only a handful of people are actually taking advantage of this each month.

The program is known as "Park and Work." It is open to downtown workers making less than half the local median income as defined by the Federal Housing and Urban Development guidelines.

According to Bangor Daily News, this year in Portland, the median for a four-person family household income is $112,700. To be able to qualify for this parking program a similar family would need to make less than $55,850 per year. If you are a single worker then you would need to make less than $39,100 per year to qualify.

Once you are qualified for the program, workers or their employers are able to purchase stamps that will be used instead of cash at the city-owned parking garages on Spring Street and Elm Street.

If you do not already know, the hourly parking rate at both the Spring Street and Elm Street garages recently increased from $2.50 per hour to $3 per hour.

The stamps come in a book of 48, each stamp is good for three hours of parking. If you are wondering how much it would cost to get one of these stamp books, each book costs $100 and is good for a total of 144 hours of parking. With the stamp books, you would save $332 a month in parking.

The only downside is if you are working more than 6 hours, then you will have to pay extra to park. This is because you are only able to use two stamps per day (equalling 6 hours of parking).

To purchase a stamp book, you will need exact change or pay by check at the Portland Downtown offices located at 549 Congress St. If you are looking to get qualified, your employer needs to call Portland Downtown and assure that your wage and business location are accepted.

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