Portlanders in trouble with the city over DIY no parking signs

| June 16, 2014

Residents of northeast Portland, Oregon have run into trouble with the city after they put up DIY signs to stop outsiders from using their streets as a free parking zone. The city declared the signs illegal, after which the neighborhood took them down.


Portland airport

Some Portland residents complain that motorists are parking in residential neighborhoods while they go on vacation, choking off supply in one of America’s tightest parking markets. From Bring Back Words.

PDX airport-bound people use the street as a free parking spot, parking and walking off with their bags to the nearby 42nd Avenue MAX, leaving their cars behind for days and weeks at length.

Several parked cars can be seen on the roads on any given day. Crimes and car break-ins have increased in the area (KGW’s video shows broken glass scattered on the streets, possibly from two broken car windows). Also, cars get in the way of other vehicles, inconveniencing residents.


Airport parking too expensive, commuters say

Neighbor Peter Ellenby, the brain behind the sign says, “They’re (the drivers are) either cheap or just don’t think twice about the fact that they’re breaking the law.” One such driver told KGW that he would be gone for four days and parking at the airport for that long a time was too expensive.

There has been a hike in the PDX parking garage rates since April 2014. Short-term garage daily maximum rates have increased to $27 and long-term garage daily maximum rates have increased to $21. However, rates for other PDX parking options like the economy parking lot, the Gold Key Valet, disability parking, etc. remain the same. According to the official website, “the rate increases will encourage more use of the airport’s economy parking lot, easing demand on the parking garages, which are often full mid-week.”

Posting official-looking signs as a last-ditch effort

Tired of this longtime practice which clutters the neighborhood, impedes everyday activity, and creates a nuisance for the residents, neighbors put up self-made signs, hoping to stop offenders.

The official-looking sign said, “NO MAX TO PDX PARKING. Cars Parked Over 24 Hours Subject to Tow.” Twelve of the same signs were installed at different places in the area.

Ellenby says, “We figured we would inform people that they are [parking] illegally.” However, Ellenby received a letter from the city asking him to take down the signs within 30 days or face a fine of $100 ($250 for the second occurrence).

Neighbor Jim Healy says, “I made at least a half dozen calls [to the parking enforcement hotline] prior to our putting up the quote illegal signage, and not one call was responded to by the city.”

Diana Dulken, spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, says that the city does respond to complaints. “People should know that they are not supposed to park in city streets for longer than 24 hours. They need to move their cars afterwards,” she adds.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation defines an abandoned vehicle as one that is either illegally parked for more than 24 hours on the street, does not display valid license plates, or appears inoperative, disabled, wrecked, or dismantled.

She also points out, however, that the idea is to not to follow the law verbatim and says that the “code does not stand alone, and if we applied it every time, it could cause more problems than it would solve.”

The transportation authority suggests residents apply for an area parking permit, which allows locals to park anytime, but lets visitors park for only two hours. Dulken says, “It is $5 a month and has worked in ten other neighborhoods for the last 30 years.”

Residents are reportedly unwilling to shell out the extra amount for parking. And the signs are said to have been very effective in lowering such car-parking activity and crimes as well.

Ellenby says, “The city claims they don’t have resources to enforce their laws. They have the resources to enforce this [illegal signage] law. ”

The neighborhood has taken the sign down for now.

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Category: Enforcement, Parking

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