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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 27, 2007 9:58 PM. The previous post in this blog was Bipartisan problem. The next post in this blog is The high court. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

They give predators a bad name

The life forms who run private parking enforcement in Portland really do need a swift kick in the rear. Let's hope the Oregon Legislature gives them a good one. Check out this tale of woe, which I just received:

My daughter, husband and three young children drove from Corvallis to go to the zoo this afternoon. Afterward they went to the Uptown Shopping Center to shop at Phil’s Meat Market. J. was enthralled by the newly revamped market and as he continued to look around and choose items to purchase, M. ran across to World Market to see if she could find a few items for the children’s Easter baskets. When J. came out of Phil’s carrying his purchased items and receipt from Phil’s, he encountered a young man wearing one of those glowing vests next to J. and M.’s seven-year-old Honda Odyssey with a ticket he had just written. J. asked him what was going on … the young man said “your wife never should have crossed the street to World Market, so, you are getting a ticket.” J. was in disbelief and continued to force the young man to explain his actions until the young man finally walked away.
That lot is a real hot spot for this garbage. Maybe it's time for a boycott until the folks at Phil's convince their landlord to ditch the goons and shape up.

At least he didn't tow their van away.

Comments (20)

And folks wonder why us suburbanites are happy to stay out of the city...

the young man said “your wife never should have crossed the street to World Market, so, you are getting a ticket.

Did I miss something? How does that give you a parking ticket?

To our guests from Corvallis: we're sorry about the 'reward' you received for doing nothing other than patronizing a few (good) stores.

Glad that you called it to our attention.

And folks wonder why us suburbanites are happy to stay out of the city...

What's ironic about that statement is that it's in trying to provide "suburban" amenities --i.e. a free parking space in front of your store-- that these things happen. Though I'll certainly agree that this is a particular obnoxious example of creepy over-enforcement.

To tell the truth...I've parked and gone to Phil's Market, the liquor store there and then --gasp-- walked across the street to the World Market. By myself. And no one's ever hassled me, or I'd personally give 'em a kick in the rear.

I suspect this is less an issue of "policy" but rather one of those instances where you give someone an orange vest and "tickets" (not official City of Portland ones) and they turn into the worst kind of hall monitor bully we all remember from high school.

Let's keep in mind, though, these are "free" parking spaces...if you pay to park in the big city, no one cares where you go.

"Ticket"? Hmm, that doesn't pass the sniff test.

The Uptown lot is private property. The overzealous parking guy was employed directly or indirectly by the shopping center. A property owner can tow you for trespassing on private property, but their goons have no authority to write "tickets". Did J. or M. complain to Phil's or the management at Uptown, who are the real culprits? It is not as satisfying as sending an angry e-mail to Bog's Blog, but probably more effective.

There's a simple solution to this, and Jack's already part of it: publicize this crap, and the businesses will back off. Complaining to management is fine, but they can always write off one person. It's much harder to write off bad publicity that reaches hundreds.

Phil's and the landlord have an interest in making sure the free parking they provide isn't used by everyone shopping on 23rd, but it's also in their interest to make sure their goons aren't overzealous. I'll bet it someone sends them this link, that particular employee will be in the boss's office tomorrow morning.

I'm interested in the ticket guestion. I attended the fine institution where our host teaches and they have a whole office of goons who go around writing tickets to the illegally parked. For a while they even tried to write tickets for students who parked, otherwise legally, on the streets surrounding the school (apparently the neighbors complained). If your a student they can withold your diploma, etc... if you refuse to pay, but how on earth could Phil's enforce a parking ticket against a customer? Refuse to sell them Painted Hills beef?

I had a very similar incident happen at the Irvington Market on NE 15th and Weidler. I patronized one of the merchants in the Market and then went to pick up my dry cleaning at the nearby cleaners. When I came back, I had a ticket.

It took a couple of emails and phone calls to straighten things out.

Not to mention that if you followed Ticket-Boy's logic, it would require patrons to fire up their gas-guzzling carbon-emission producing cars to drive across the street and circle aimlessly until a spot opens up. As a matter of public policy, don't we want to discourage this kind of ridiculous and inefficient behavior? As long as you're patronizing one of the stores where you've parked, why shouldn't you be able to run across the street to another store in what is essentially the same shopping nucleus?

Well, Mike Austin, then maybe you can help us. What threat did the Irvington Market use if you didn't pay your "ticket"?

If you don't pay your fair share at a private lot, the owner can kick you off (tow you), or refuse to let you leave until you pay the agreed upon fee, like in a parking garage. I don't see that fining you after the fact is an option.

I'm sure they send you to collections for an unpaid ticket/bill. It is probably even enforceable if it is properly posted in the lot, that if you leave the lot you will be fined. (The parking is only free if you stay on our property.)

This one is a tricky one, since at least one of the party did stay on the property. I guess the moral of this story is if you go to the UpTown strip mall, drop your passengers off before you pull into the parking lot. ;-)

towing companies routinely patrol looking for lots that don't have a tow agreement, then try and sell them one. it's done very aggressively and often. they're sold as ways for the business to make extra money.

i'd love to see the downtown core become car free, like more progressive European city cores.

imagine that. then, enormous parking garages, surface lots, meter patrolpersons and at least one city business unit would be out of business.

of course, given the connections and influence of those owning these things (Goodman, Moyer et al)--it'll never happen.

A couple years ago, I received a similar ticket from a private lot near Keller Auditorium. I had what I thought was a good case, and attempted the appeal process with the license bureau, who oversees these operations, without much expectation that it would be a fair process. It wasn't, even when the operator broke multiple rules that they were supposed to be operating under during the appeal process.

It turns out, PCC allows them the option of turning the ticket, with penalties assessed, of course, over to a collection agency, and also to tow your vehicle, after the third offense in one year. And the letters they send out before it gets that far sound pretty threatening. But knowing the city codes at the time, my response was simply to ignore them, and not park there again.

Before taking my course of action, I'd recommend another check of the codes - it's been a couple years, as I said.

Well, Mike Austin, then maybe you can help us. What threat did the Irvington Market use if you didn't pay your "ticket"?

It's important to note that Irvington Market had nothing directly to do with it. (They may or may not get a percentage of the "fine".) It's the towing company that's the problem. I was threatened with having the ticket turned over to a collection agency.

Once I explained that I had patronized a merchant in the Market and that the side trip to the dry cleaners was part of the same trip, the towing company dropped the ticket. Of course, this was after I had expended the effort to call the towing company, get their email address, write the email, etc.

I got one of those tickets in a lot on the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge when I was parked there about 10 minutes on a weekend. "Private Parking Enforcement" I think was the name of the outfit the lot owners used. I got sent to a collection agency long after I'd paid, and had to send my own threatening letter (along with a copy of my check).

I'm sure they send you to collections for an unpaid ticket/bill.

How do they even have your name?
Do they have police connections to run the plate?

i'd love to see the downtown core become car free, like more progressive European city cores. imagine that. then, enormous parking garages, surface lots, meter patrolpersons and at least one city business unit would be out of business.

Right. And watch the rest of downtown go down with it.

If you don't pay your fair share at a private lot, the owner can kick you off (tow you), or refuse to let you leave until you pay the agreed upon fee, like in a parking garage.

Do all these lots have gated entrances? Because I would like to see them try to keep me from leaving if they dont.

"Right. And watch the rest of downtown go down with it."

Show some proof, Jon, because data from a several other cities indicate the exact opposite.

also, i was referring to the downtown core, however that might get defined. that doesn't mean "all of downtown SW and NW Portland."

I used to drive a clunky old truck that used to be, and looked like, a construction work truck. I never got tickets because everyone thought that it was there for repairs. Unfortunately, my current BMW attracts tickets like mobile homes attract tornados.

"How do they even have your name?
Do they have police connections to run the plate?"


Glad to hear about this atrocity. Now I know where NOT to shop. I won't patronize any business in that entire strip mall since it seems they have parking lot nazis creating income out of customer's misery. Thanks for the warning.


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