Neighborhood continues to fight PDX parking

Neighborhood continues to fight PDX parking

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by Erica Heartquist, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 6:55 AM

Updated Thursday, May 29 at 10:08 AM

Hundreds came out in support of a Northeast Portland man's decision to post his own signs, telling people not to park on his street.

Peter Ellenby said airline passengers use his street as a park-and-ride and take the Northeast 42nd Street/Hollywood District MAX train to the airport. He posted his own "No Parking" signs and the city has said they will fine him if he doesn't take them down.

KGW went back to the neighborhood on Wednesday and talked to the man behind the signs.

"Yeah, I am the impetus. I'm the bad guy behind the whole thing. I'm breaking the law here so yeah," said Ellenby.

He said the city should tow cars that have been in his neighborhood for weeks, even months.

"They're either cheap or just don't think twice about the fact that they're breaking the law," said Ellenby. "The city claims they don't have resources to enforce their laws. They have the resources to enforce this [law about unofficial parking signs] law."

So, when it comes to the parkers, [the city] just goes around and leave little notes," said Ellenby.

Ellenby said he has seen notes the City of Portland puts on cars reminding them not to use the area as long-term parking.

"They would just leave a polite note that says, 'Oh, by the way, you're breaking the law, please don't do this again, thanks' and it really doesn't look like anything official. It looks like a coupon to a salon or a muffin shop and oftentimes the drivers just throw them on the ground," he said.

Ellenby is not alone.

Maria Aron has lived in the neighborhood for seven years.

"I've been on this street for seven years and when we first moved on this street it was sometimes an issue, but now it's very consistent," said Aron.

She said in February someone was parked in front of her house for about ten days.

"It's really inconsiderate and unfortunate," said Aron "I don't mind if someone's here a few days, but try to think about the people who own the homes and pay taxes here."

Neighbors told KGW about a Toyota Prius parked along Northeast Senate Street for several days.

Turns out, it was in the way of a delivery driver while KGW was there.

The driver was trying to drop off a refrigerator from Lowe's but had to park about two houses down.

KGW saw a man park and get out of his car with a travel bag.  He said he was headed to the airport and would be gone for four days.

Instead of parking his own car, another driver, Eric Slade, rented a Car-To-Go.

Slade said it's a dollar a minute and it took him seven minutes to get to NE Senate Street from his house.

Ellenby said he wished all drivers were that considerate.

"Online people are suggesting that we start vandalizing cars and stuff, but that is obviously not going to happen because we are law abiding citizens with children and we want our neighborhood to be safe. We don't want a bunch of beaten up cars around," he said.

He and his neighbors said they now plan to flood the city's parking violation hotline until they get results.

"We're going to hopefully get the city to enforce its own laws, not just the ones about illegal signage," said Ellenby.

The city said the ordinance about not parking your cars on the street for more than 24 hours deals with abandoned cars only.

They define an "abandoned car" as one that has been illegally stored more than 24 hours on the street or does not display a license plate, appears disabled, wrecked, or dismantled.

So what if you only have street parking at your house with no driveway or garage and you leave your car for days at a time. Could that mean your neighbor could just report your car and have it towed?

"That's why that code does not stand alone and if we applied it every time, it could cause more problems than it would solve," said Diane Dulken, spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

She said the city tries to "match problems to the appropriate solution" and if they enforced the law verbatim, "We would take and ticket every car out there."

Dulken reiterated that the neighborhood should apply for zone-area parking passes, which would restrict parking on city streets to residents and two hours visitors.

"It is $5 a month and has worked in ten other neighborhoods for the last 30 years," she said.

Ellenby said he disagrees with that idea.

"We already pay several thousands of dollars a year in various Portland taxes and I think that's enough. We don't need to have another zone. We already live in a zone and it's called the City of Portland.  It has a law that says you cannot park for more than 24 hours and we would like that law enforced."

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