The not-so-laid-back part of Portland

July 30th, 2012 · 69 comments

“I don’t know the back story here,” says Katie in Portland, Oregon, “but it seems like a better solution would have been to just, I don’t know, not park illegally?”

Dear Neighbor, Please extend the courtesy of ringing my doorbell and speaking to me before calling Parking Enforcement again. Thank you, Terri

related: How NOT to get out of a parking ticket

FILED UNDER: neighbors · parking · Portland · the po-po

69 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Grapefruit

    Or after the first, second, third or fourth ticket you could learn not to park like a douche, Terri. Keep calling the police, neighbors.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 1:58 am   rating: 91  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   The Elf

      That assumes Terri is parking like douche. I once had my car towed out of my own reserved parking space because I hadn’t gotten a replacement sticker on my brand-new windshield yet. Never mind that I had parked there for years and it was a distinctive car, so there was pretty much no question whose it was…..

      If Terri parks like a douche, go team neighbors. If neighbor is a the local parking nazi who has nothing better to do, then Terri’s being nicer than many would be under the same circumstances.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 7:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Mushroom

      My best friend had neighbors like this, who called about my friend’s car being “abandoned” — despite the fact that he drove it to school every morning and work afterwards so it was gone from 8am to 10pm at least three weekdays a week. It was a rough-condition Studebaker with fully inflated tires and current tabs, so someone must have been going by the chassis alone.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   shepd

      Or perhaps she has neighbours calling for stupid laws? Where I am everyone parks overnight on the street because there’s no traffic and it’s wide enough. Plenty of space. Legal parking. Happy everyone.

      Except that the city technically has a 3 hour maximum parking rule for all city streets. Calling the city results in them saying “We only enforce that upon request”.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 9:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Dr_Know

      I wish my council were so conscientious. I’ve had an actually abandoned car (really smashed up front and hasn’t been moved) parked in front of my place for 3 weeks!!

      They have done absolutely nothing :/

      Aug 2, 2012 at 7:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   SeeYouInTea

    I have a douche neighbor that sometimes likes to park DIRECTLY in front of my driveway. Two middle fingers to illegal parking.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 2:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Tatterdemalion

    I had a neighbor report my car once for having expired registration and a flat tire. I got a “this car appears to be abandoned and will be towed if it remains on this block” notice… AFTER the tire was fixed, because parking enforcement dood was either visually impaired or didn’t care to check on the current status of the complaint.

    So I was forced to hide my car until such point as I could take time off work to go to the DMV and get the darned registration done. Thanks, neighbor.

    So no, not all parking enforcement complaints are about douchey parking, some of them are just about being too poor to get your tags renewed. :P

    Jul 30, 2012 at 2:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Tatterdemalion

      (And yes, before the nitpicking begins, the ticket DID specify the no-longer-extant flat tire as well as the expired tags, and I know the neighbor called it in because she told me she’d called it in… the day I was having it towed to the mechanic’s. She was all surprised I was a neighbor and stuff! Even though I’d been parking that car on that street for, oh, over a year.)

      Jul 30, 2012 at 2:58 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   Rattus

      I’ve lived on my street for eight years and I know my immediate neighbour’s car, but only because it is a very bright blue and usually parked right in front of my house (we have a driveway). Beyond that, I could not tell you what the car of any other resident of the street looks like, and whether or not it had been sitting in the same place for an extended period of time. If I saw a car with a distinct feature such as a flat tire sitting in the same spot for a while, I might notice it and start to wonder about it myself. I likely wouldn’t care that it had been abandoned, though, until giant spiders started living in it.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 6:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   ieroweimf

      Why are you lazy? At least in my state, you can:
      1) re-register your car online
      2) re-register your car by mail

      Actually, about 60 days before expiration, I get letters from the DMV alerting me, and it has a handy form to fill out right in it.

      While your neighbor may have been douchy for doing it, you don’t have the moral high ground here, based upon your laziness or otherwise ineptitude.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   kermit

      At least consider that:
      (1) not every state is like your state
      (2) re-registration costs money, which the person may have not been able to spare at the same time. A lot of places have increased their fees and instituted such revenue-increasing things like cat licenses.
      (3) For the love of sanity, (2) is not an invitation to continue the cat “debate”.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.5   ieroweimf

      Poster never stated that they didn’t have the money, stated it was only a matter of time in getting to the DMV.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.6   kermit

      Since your comment was in reply to Tatterdemalion – who did state that some people can’t afford to do it – I presumed that you did not take into account the cost factor.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.7   ieroweimf

      mea culpa, I apparently did not read the last line.

      Still, I have been poor before, and in similar situations. When in that state, I tried the best to not incur extra expenses (such as tickets etc due to my poverty) and have made the required accomodations.


      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.8   The Elf

      This is what happens when you don’t keep your cars inside. You think they’re happy, frolicking in the outdoors as nature intended, then *poof* towed.

      Also, they chase away the wild bicycles and leave oil drippings in people’s yards.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.9   sambycat

      also, please spay and neuter your cars

      Jul 30, 2012 at 4:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.10   JK

      Speaking of licenses (cat and car), does anybody know where I can get one for my pet fish, Eric? He’s an ‘alibut. I chose him out of thousands… (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

      I’ve been on the receiving end of some terrible neighbor parking behavior, so I sympathize with the caller. Of course, one of those neighbors ended up (allegedly) to have sold cocaine out of their home, hence the constant coming and going and bad parking in front of our driveway. I don’t recommend going next door to have a word with your neighbor about their car unless you know them. You never know what people are capable of or what they’re up to. Maybe leave a note on their vehicle, but don’t confront a stranger. It’s for your own safety.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.11   kermit

      I dunno, Sambycat. I don’t think some people would mind if their Toyota Tercel had a tryst with Lincoln Town Car or a Porsche and acquired some leader seats or heating system in the process.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.12   Pit Pat

      If you let your car outside, it could get hit by a car!!!

      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.13   wfijwiowefoifun

      Man, I feel like such a douche, I had to re-iterate my apologies to the original poster. How I missed that last line I’ll never know.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 12:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.14   Who passed out the Haterade?

      Thanks for making my day, The Elf. (^_^)

      Jul 31, 2012 at 12:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.15   shepd

      Perhaps because it costs $99 to register your car per year (at least it does here)? And maybe if you’re not making above minimum wage, $99 takes a couple of days to earn and eating and having a roof over your head is better.

      And yes, I’ve worked minimum wage jobs that require you to have a car, so no, I can’t just go sell the car and expect to keep working.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Kelley

    Okay, so I would never do something like this, but I live in downtown Portland and I know how preposterous Portland parking is, so I guess I kinda get it.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Kelley

      I mean, that doesn’t excuse this passive-aggresivity at all, but even trying to park directly in front of your own house can be a challenge in Portland

      Jul 30, 2012 at 4:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   zenvelo

      you know that you don’t have any claim to the space in front of your house? anyone can park there, as long as they don’t block a drive way….

      Jul 30, 2012 at 6:21 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   Meggie

      She didn’t say it was her right to park in front of her house. She simply said that in Portland, where parking is a huge challenge, you sometimes can’t even park your car when you get to your own house.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 11:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Dewprisms

      Right… but for instance in my old neighborhood, sometimes people would park in front of my house when the area in front of theirs was clearly open.

      Not only that, but they would not either edge backwards so I could also fit in front of my house, or pull forward to the edge of the driveway so the the driveway was not blocked and I could park behind them, again, in front of my house.

      It’s always infuriating having to park half a street down because some jerkface doesn’t know how to park properly and not take up all the room, or has a party without letting their direct neighbors know so they come home from a long day at work and can’t even freaking park in front of their own home and just go inside immediately.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 11:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   redheadwglasses

      I would park in front of a neighbor’s house and not my own, if it meant my car was facing the direction I want to go in the morning. I don’t understand this sense of entitlement some people have to a small section of asphalt in front of their home.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   Amanda6

      What makes you less entitled than your neighbors? Why would it be so hard to turn your car around in the morning?

      I don’t really care to pick on you, in particular, but I feel like ‘entitled’ is a buzzword of the last year or so, and often used inappropriately when there are disagreements with reasonable points on both sides.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   redheadwglasses

      I don’t feel it’s reasonable to expect to get to park in front of your own house. It’s totally a suburban mindset. People who live where finding ANY on-street parking is a win would think those homeowners are being poopheads.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.8   The Elf

      Honestly, it depends on the neighborhood.

      On my quiet sparsely populated street, I would fully expect to be able to park in front of my house on a regular basis. I don’t feel entitled to it, but it would be weird if someone else was parking there and there wasn’t some sort of event going on. In my old neighborhood (townhomes), I would be expect to be able to park one car in our reserved space, but all bets are off on the second. Might be streets away.

      That street looks pretty suburban, but I also see a lot of street-parked cars. I could see the expectation going either way.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   Jonas

    Depends on how douchy the neighbour is. Where I used to live you were allowed to park from 7pm to 8am. One lovely neighbour would call the cops on anyone still there at 8:05 am.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   Polly

    Sorry, it’s the cost of living in the big, crowded city. Got a car? Get a paid parking space in a garage or lot, or learn to find free LEGAL parking spaces. And keep your licenses and stickers up to date.

    I don’t mind paying all the taxes to maintain infrastructure in my major city even though I got rid of my car over a decade ago. It’s all about being a good citizen and enjoying the benefits of city life.

    If the Terri’s of the world enjoy courting tickets by ignoring the laws – too bad, so sad when the hammer comes down.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Rattus

      Pay for the benefits I enjoy? Are you mad? I am entitled to take whatever I want, whenever I want, without the ignominy of an attenuation of my bank account.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Dane Zeller

      You have violated the PA rules for number of syllables in a word. You have used the word “attenuation.” Five syllables. I have reported you. Your fine will be in your email.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   kermit

      Attenuation is usually measured in decibels not currency, so you may not have sporting chance at collecting your fine, Dane. On the off-chance that you do, check the footnote rules. I doubt the use of a word like “ignominy” is allowed, let alone be together in the same sentence as “attenuation”. Vocabulary like that is far too high-brow for PA, unless Jeeves is your manservant and lackey.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:08 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   Rattus

      Sorry, I didn’t want to use the word “pay” twice in the same paragraph, so I will acquiesce to a fining with all good grace.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   The Elf

    Anybody else think it’s a bad idea to put your name and phone number on a public sign? I forsee a lot of prank calls to Terri.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   nick17

      Looks more like an address to me.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:16 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   Barbary Lion

      Yes, that looks like a house #, to facilitate people coming and ringing her doorbell as requested. Which I’m sure they will… I think Terri’s probably just signed herself up for a lot of Ding Dong Ditch from the neighborhood kids.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 8:38 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   redheadwglasses

      “Ding Dong Ditch”

      I dare say that 90% of kids these days under 15 have never heard of this.

      And they better get offa my lawn!

      Jul 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   andrew

      It’s okay, they don’t get off their internets and playboxstations long enough to get outside and do it anyway.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 2:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.5   The Elf

      I guess the new version of Ding Dong Ditch is to hack a facebook account?

      Jul 31, 2012 at 7:09 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   lorfdof

    These comment threads are always full of douchebags.

    So, so many douchebags.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 8:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   jrex

    A lot of the time the parking police will revisit areas with habitual parking offenders so it might not even be the neighbors calling that got her the 3rd and 4th ticket. idk maybe she has severe entitlement issues with this parking area

    Jul 30, 2012 at 9:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   Jami

    Without knowing how Terri parks I don’t know who’s side to be on.

    On the one hand we had these immature next door neighbors (until the owner of the house had to kick his friends out & have his mother move in to afford to live there) who would do things like park right in front of our driveway then refuse to answer the phone when called. So yes, it was towed. Or park in front of our mailbox and leave on vacation. And the city refused to tow it until it was there for more than a week. (Don’t know why.) Plus they would park in front of our house instead of driving an extra ten feet to park in front of their own place.

    Then again, we have another neighbor who likes to report everyone for anything he thinks is against code. He’s a contractor and mad that no one ever hires him in our neighborhood to do work on their houses. (There’s a reason, dude.) He’s harassed us when repairing the fence asking if we had a permit – you don’t need a permit to repair a fence. Sent his wife around while the house was being remodeled to demand to see the blue prints and claim that we were building “too high.” Oh, and there’s the time when we came back from camping at 3 am, left the trailer in the front yard to clean. By the afternoon it was in our backyard. Got a ticket from the city claiming we had it in the front yard for a full month. It was barely 12 hours.

    And we know it was that dude who reported it because he drove by really slowly while the trailer was there. It’s kind of his thing. When he isn’t working he’s cruising the neighborhood looking for “code violations.” A person can’t even walk their dog without him standing in the driveway watching them.

    So the point of all this – I want to know how Terri parks before I choose a side. And if there’s any jerkwad neighbors who like reporting imaginary infractions as petty revenge.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 9:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Awlbiste

      Does anyone ever stand in their own driveway and stare right back at him? I would probably do something like that.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Wait..what?

      And take pictures of his house and stuff…I would do that.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 9:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   kermit

      Geez, that’s awful and kinda sounds like a George Zimmerman type short of a gun. I bet this guy tried to start an HOA for the neighbourhood so he could appoint himself as leader of the fifedom.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 10:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.4   Adriana

      Jami, if I were you, I’d start reading up on code violations myself.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 11:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Ethel

    You know, it may come across as being a parking Nazi but some neighbors are total asshats and won’t be contacted directly because their are so poisonous, Terri may be one of those. Terri may also be a serial flaunter of city laws including those unrelated to parking so the neighbors want to nail Terri for repeated dickishness and parking happens to be easy.

    Just saying, some Terris have the shit coming and should shut up, learn the regulations and follow them and then in the future the neighbors might give a shit and speak to them first.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 10:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Amanda6

      From what I know of most people, serial law breakers aren’t actually the types that would invite direct, face-to-face confrontation, as Terri has done here. No one likes being called out, but very few people who actually deserve getting called out want to escalate an anonymous complaint into a facetime complaint.

      Jul 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   The Elf

      You haven’t met my former neighbor. He’d count on intimidation – which is best done in person – to keep you from questioning his right to park wherever he wanted.

      He didn’t try it with us, though.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 7:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Ames

    I wonder if there’s a local ordinance limiting the size of a sign that can be posted on what appears to be a utility pole. If there is, and if this sign exceeds that, I would totally ring her doorbell to let her know about that.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Bob

    People driving cars in Portland? Ride bikes and stop making each other miserable.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   not a neighbor

    without knowing the backstory….it’s complicated.
    but I know of a neighbor in another NW town that likes to call in “abandoned” cars. what if a car is parked too long? who cares if it is in front of Terri’s house.

    happened to us once in a dense neighrborhood/ lots of apartments. sure we didn’t drive since we could walk / take public transit, etc. some d-bag called parking enforcement the week between xmas and new years, while we were out of town. got home on new years day to find out it was our last day to get our car out of the towing company lot.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   Poltergeist

    I agree that without knowing the backstory, this one could go either way. If Terri was parking like a fucking moron on a regular basis, then he/she deserved it.

    However, I myself have been the victim of nosy little bitch neighbors who have nothing better to do than to get others in trouble. When we first moved into our apartment, we had to leave our car parked on the street in front for a bit so that we could move some stuff in. The car wasn’t in anybody’s way, not in front of a hydrant, not on the corner, etc. Our street is a no parking zone for some idiot reason (do they think people should lug their groceries all the way from the parking lot?) Anyway, somebody, probably an elderly agoraphobic, called the cops on us after our car was there for maybe half an hour. We tried to explain the situation to the officer to no avail because he was an asshole too (seriously, he was very rude and condescending).

    tl;dr Neighbors can be absolute douchebags, so I wouldn’t be so quick to side against Terri.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   Kelsey

      No offense or anything, but it said “No parking”. That means no parking ever, even if it’s inconvenient for you. You were breaking the law.
      I would agree with the fact though that if you were only out there for thirty minutes it doesn’t warrant someone calling the cops.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 6:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   Poltergeist

      In this case, I don’t care. People should understand that we have to leave our cars out front for a little bit in order to bring things in and out of our apartments. It’s a short, fairly wide side street, not even a main road, and I am not carrying my heavy shit in from the parking lot which is a good distance away.

      Really, I suspect it happened because the person didn’t recognize our car (they must sit in their apartment scrutinizing everything that drives by) since it has never happened again. Most of us resort to leaving our hazard lights on now whenever we have to bring in groceries.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 10:29 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.3   shepd

      The secret is to leave someone sitting in the car. Then it is stopping, not parking. It is legal to stop in front of a no parking sign, even if you don’t have your car running, in gear or even have the lights on.

      Well, it is here and most places I know. YMMV.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.4   Splash

      That is actually a common misconception. A car turned off and in park is in fact parked and therefor in violation of the law. Having a person in the car makes a ticket less likely, since they can explain the situation and move the car should a police officer show up, and usually police officers are understanding in these circumstances, but it’s still illegal. Also, I love it when people think putting their hazards on makes parking in a no parking zone OK. A-holes do this when they park in the bike-lane near my house all of the time. Makes me want to punch a b*tch, but usually I just spit on their car as I cycle into the driving lane in order to pass them (because I have no class and am vengeful).

      Aug 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Pit Pat

    I would probably not “extend the courtesy of ring(ing) (her) doorbell.” Ever read anything at neighborsfromhell? That’s how a lot of this starts. Then again, I have never called the police on anyone (except the time someone was trying to break in). I can’t see calling in a parking violation unless it directly affected me, like blocking my garage.

    Jul 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   Frogwings

    I don’t understand why people in the US make such a big deal over walking a few extra feet to get to thier house or the grocery store! If we allowed ourselves the extra steps it would take to walk from a properly parked vehicle we may not be the fattest nation in the world.

    Jul 31, 2012 at 1:02 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   AussieGuest

      Australia should follow…not that I can talk being a little on the heavy side

      Jul 31, 2012 at 2:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.2   The Elf

      Well, in our case my husband likes to be able to see our car to make sure it isn’t being messed with. He’s paranoid about his vehicles, which is one reason why a driveway or garage was a condition of moving. And when you’re carrying armfuls of groceries or whatever, it’s a lot easier to do it when you only have to walk a short distance.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 7:15 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.3   Frogwings

      Agreed on the groceries thing. I have a basket with wheels on it so when I lug my groceries and my two year old up to my apartment I don’t have to make so many trips.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 9:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.4   Lythande

      Actually, according to the WHO, the U.S. is 7th fattest for males and 13th for females.

      The more you know…!

      Jul 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.5   Jolly

      holy moly, what a moron. you can’t get 4 parking tickets for parking legally. figure this shit out, Terri.

      Jul 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   Anonymous

    I think I know that house, I think I know how this happened. I live in Portland, once at an apartment complex with no parking lot. Portland has a law saying that you can park on the street, but you have to move your car at least once a day. This is dumb when the city wants us to take the bus to cut down on traffic, but whatever. One of the homeowners on our street was a douche and kept leaving yellow post-its on my car. I couldn’t figure out why, until I left my car in the same spot for two days. I got a note from the city explaining the rule. From that point on, I always littered her yard with the post-its she put on my car. The person in question had a huge double-wide driveway, so this was not for want of parking space on their end.

    Aug 7, 2012 at 1:30 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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