Mr. Meter Maid

By Lynn Mitchell

Bruce Grotemat is the parking enforcement officer for the City of Longview, and he doesn't mind being called a "meter maid."

"Often that's the nicest name that I'm called all day unless it's a friend who knows my name," said Grotemat.

All of the parking meters have long since been removed in Longview, and parking is free; but people can only park in one spot for two hours on weekdays. The idea is to keep spaces turning over for patrons to have easy access to downtown businesses.

There are three lots in downtown Longview where you can park all day if you can't move your car every two hours from the street parking spaces. These parking areas are along Cotton St., and will hold 300 cars.

Carol Walker is a downtown business owner. "Well nobody wants a ticket, but if you hog the parking place then nobody has a place to park," says Walker.

At "Willie G's", executive chief, Steve Gonsalves appreciates the efforts of Grotemat.

"It keeps the traffic flowing around downtown ,and you get more people to see the sites and restaurants." said Gonsalves.

Grotemat has had violators run after him, wanting to have a physical confortation. He says, "Unfortunately it happens fairly frequently."

He says on average that he writes 25 to 50 citations a day, and has written over 100,000 in his ten years on the job.

After walking several miles each day, Grotemat unwinds by watching "Parking Wars" on TV.

He says, " Except on a smaller scale, there's nothing that I haven't already seen in Longview."

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