PORTLAND The state of Oregon is cracking down on the nearly half-a-million drivers who have not paid their parking tickets and the effort could bring in millions of dollars in revenue to the state.
But some drivers said they re angry because they claim they did pay and didn t know they owed late fees, so now they want to know why they re getting targeted years later.
Susan Furnish told KGW she was shocked and mad when she got a phone call about a parking ticket from 2006.
I thought it was a scam because who would be calling about a parking ticket at someone's home that took place in 2006. This is now 2011, she said.
Furnish did not try to hide the fact that she got the ticket in downtown Portland. She said she paid $16 and thought that was all she owed.
Court records obtained by KGW also showed that she paid $16.
But a collection agency hired by the state says she also owes $54 more for that same ticket.
Had I been notified I owed more money I would have paid it, Furnish said.
Court administrator Doug Bray said the problem was in the fine print, which said that drivers have 30 days to pay their fines or else they double. Then, drivers should get a postcard in the mail alerting them that they owe more money.
Furnish s payment was a few days late. She said she never got a postcard.
I have had no notice for five or six years. Come on, who runs a business like that? I think it's wrong, she said.
And she s not alone with her frustrations. But Bray said the state, which runs county court systems, will continue to crack down on unpaid ticket fees and has hired three collection agencies to help.
In Multnomah County alone, nearly 500,000 drivers still owe on parking tickets. And more than half of those are more than 10 years past due. That adds up to more than $35 million in unpaid tickets.
As for Furnish, she has now paid all her late fees and won t have to deal with the collection agency any further.