For 13 years, parking officer Erik Carlstrom has been walking Portland streets in all kinds of weather.

“Rain, sleet or snow, we’re out here,” he said.

Even polar vortexes.

On a recent day in December, with wind whipping and temperatures in the single digits, Carlstrom was on the beat writing tickets. On the coldest days, he and the other members of parking enforcement will take frequent breaks in their vehicles to warm up. Hand warmers are helpful, too, he said.

Officers in the parking division earn between $15 and $20 and hour, according to city spokesperson Jessica Grondin.

Carlstrom, who previously worked in store security, says the best part of the job is summertime when he can wear shorts while working. The toughest part, aside from the brutal winters, is when conflicts arise between officers and motorists.

“We have feelings, too,” he said.

(Editor’s note: While working on this assignment, the photographer was issued a ticket by another officer for illegal parking.)

Erik Carlstrom, parking enforcement officer, exhales steamy breath as he walks along Commercial Street in Portland while temperatures were in the single digits.

Erik Carlstrom, parking enforcement officer, exhales steamy breath as he walks along Commercial Street in Portland while temperatures were in the single digits. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer