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Portland Building renovations forced parks officials to end the annual wait-in-line-for-many-hours-outside-the-permit center process for future brides and grooms that usually greeted the first business day of the new year.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - Couples who want to get a permit for a 2018 wedding in a city park, like Washington Park, will have to jump into a lottery beginning in mid-November. A Portland Building renovation project forced the city's Permit Center into smaller quarters, ending the long January lines for park wedding permits.Thinking about getting married next year in a Portland park? City officials have some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news: You won't have to wait in line during cold January weather to get a permit. The bad news: You will have to jump into a lottery beginning in mid-November for the park wedding permits.

Portland Parks & Recreation officials said Wednesday, Nov. 8, that people who want to get permits for 2018 weddings in one of the city's 200 parks, gardens and natural settings won't be able to reserve space on a first-come, first-served basis. Starting this month, reservations will be determined by a lottery.

Blame it on Portland Building renovations, say parks officials. Plans to do $195 million in renovation and seismic upgrades next year on the 35-year-old city office building have put a crimp in the annual wait-in-line-for-many-hours-outside-the-permit center process for future brides and grooms that usually greeted the first business day of the new year. People who wanted permits to have weddings in city parks sometimes lined up overnight in cold early January weather outside to be first in the first-floor Permit Center.

The city Permit Center, like other Portland Building tenants, will move out by the end of this year. It's new offices, on the sixth floor of 111 S.W. Columbia St., are too small to accommodate the annual early January wedding permit crush, so Portland Parks & Recreation decided to change to a lottery system.

According to parks officials, starting at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, the parks bureau will take wedding reservation requests and enter them in a 2018 lottery. Applicants can submit reservation requests online at www.PortlandParks.org, or by calling 503-823-2525 and working with a customer service representative.

As in past years, the process includes a $110 non-refundable application and processing fee to submit a request. Portland Parks & Recreation staff say they cannot recall any instance where future newlyweds did not get one of their top three choices for a venue or date. And they don't expect that to change under the new lottery system. PP&R staff say they will work with all permit applicants to ensure they come away satisfied.

The lottery application process ends at 5 p.m. Dec. 14. Lucky couples' applications will be selected starting at 10 a.m. Dec. 15.

Couples who don't want to go through the lottery can still submit their permit requests starting at 8 a.m. Jan. 2, 2018, the first business day of the new year, but lottery winners will have already reserved their spots, narrowing choices for stragglers, according to parks officials.


WANT TO KNOW MORE?

• Check out the parks bureau Facebook page for more information, www.facebook.com/events/1328401920603210/

• More information and FAQs can be found at www.PortlandOregon.gov/Parks/weddings

• Call the Parks Customer Service Center, 503-823-2525.

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