Entrepreneur keeps hold on SmartPark garages
For the second time this year, a City of Portland evaluation committee has selected Tennessee-based Central Parking, led by Portland business entrepreneur Roy Jay to operate the downtown SmartPark garage system, a multimillion dollar industry.
Last April, the three-year contract for management of the city-owned parking facilities, was initially awarded to Central Parking over two prominent Portland families who dominate the downtown parking market.
However, Mayor Sam Adams canceled the contract after the Schlesinger and Goodman families protested the selection process. Goodman indicated that the city’s parking garage manager, Charles Dummet, had recently worked as manager for Central Parking.
At the most recent pre-bid conference held by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Schlesinger’s Star Park firm bid again, as well as Seattle’s Ace Parking, but Goodman’s City Center business failed to submit a bid before the deadline.
In a press release, Jay said the recommendation by the panel of business and professional evaluators, selected his Central Parking firm “head and shoulders’ above any of the remaining finalists.
He said he “put a lot of skin in the game” and the benefits to the city are more than just the SmartPark contract.
He said Central Parking offers its employees better health care plus a 401k retirement program, something that neither Star Park nor City Center Parking have ever offered their workers.
In 2003, Jay helped Star Park win the city’s parking deal by forming a coalition that included the African American Chamber of Commerce and other minority chamber groups, calling it one of the most “successful David and Goliath battles ever.”
He did not comment on what separated the groups this year.
The next step is for the City Council to authorize the parking contract, which is scheduled next month.