PORTLAND -- Homeowners in one Northeast Portland neighborhood are tired of cars parked in front of their houses, sometimes days at a time. They came together to stop it, but now they're the ones in trouble.
People have been using the streets in the Hollywood District, which are not metered, as a park-and-ride lot of sorts. Drivers drop off their cars and leave them while they take the nearby 42nd Avenue MAX to the airport.
And, after they leave, the car stays parked on the street, sometimes for weeks.
You can tell which ones are the 'airporters' because they park here and they drag their rolly bags out and away they go, said long time resident Richard Graves.
I don't go to their neighborhood and park, said Graves with a laugh. I've had them right here for two weeks.
He's not alone.
The latest offending vehicle was parked right behind our neighbor's Subaru and had been there for five days, said neighbor Jim Healy.
That's why neighbors put up signs telling people who park in the area that if they take the 42nd Avenue MAX to the airport and leave their car there, they'll be towed.
But the neighbor behind the signs, Peter Ellenby, was told he had to take them down or face a city fine.
According to the letter he received from the city, if Ellenby doesn't take his signs down within 30 days, he'll be fined $100. A second occurrence will cost him $250.
Ellenby said the city has never done anything about the illegal parking but now it's threatening him with fines.
It does violate city code to put up your own sign, said Diane Dulken with the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
But what about the city ordinance that says you can't park your cars for an entire day on a city street?
People should know that they are not supposed to park in city streets for longer than 24 hours, said Dulken. They need to move their cars afterwards.
But, neighbors said that ordinance isn't being enforced.
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, Healy said.
Dulkens said the city does react to complaint calls.
We do send out enforcement officers to take a look at complaints and to respond to complaints: A, cars could no longer be there when they respond or B, that's not the solution to this problem, said Dulken.
Dulken said neighbors should apply for an area parking permit. She said several neighborhoods already have them around the city and they've worked well for thirty years. The permits let residents park at any time, while visitors are limited to two hours.
The cost for the permit is $60 a year.
Neighbors like Ellenby said I am already a taxpayer to the city. Why should I pay an annual fee of $60 to keep people from parking for long periods of time on my street?