Thanks Bug - let us know if you make any progress.
The whole situation just makes me mad . If it was about the crowds, there wouldn't be a shuttle from Rooster Rock to Multnomah Falls. And in the end, fees won't solve anything - the demand is too great - will only change who will go to the Gorge more often. It's all about the money as I see (specific $$ figure even is stated in the plan), and about making overly complicated system that requires a lot of gov't management, all the time (transit buses, parking fees, financial and HR side of it, etc).
And thinking about parking meters as a way to increase turnout - it will increase the number of visitors on the trail, not the opposite (i.e. I'd go down Angels Rest right away vs chilling half an hour at the summit, and free that parking spot). Which may be good for the next hiker who arrived late in the day, but if we're speaking of trails being overused it will only make the "problem" worse..
Us being regular hikers, my family already use 3 hiking passes, and will soon have to choose which areas we like more and get that one pass, vs getting a $#!^load of parking passes to be able to visit all the places we like.