A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Crossing the line? That’s a fine

Written January 2nd, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Carolyn Larime holds a copy of her ticket, complete with a photo of her car parked across the white line in front.

Here’s a heads-up about curbside parking in downtown Albany: If you cross the white lines painted on the street, you run the risk of getting a $25 citation, even if crossing the line is the only way to fit between cars already parked.

It’s what happened to Carolyn Larime on the afternoon of Dec. 27. To her it seemed as though somebody was trying to play the Grinch.

“Two days after Christmas,” she wrote in an email, “I was showing my out-of-town guest our wonderful city. We toured neighborhoods, visited the Carnegie Library, ate in a local restaurant, and spent Christmas cash as we browsed downtown shops. Our last stop, of course, was the carousel. We had so much fun my friend even started talking about moving here. It was a great holiday time until we got back to my car and found a ticket on the windshield.

“I have lived here for 15 years and have never heard of a ‘Parking Violation’ downtown,” she continued. “The $25 citation was for the egregious offense of not parking within the white lines. There was even a photo of my car in its offensive position. What the photo didn’t show was the whole line of ‘illegally’ parked cars that were there when I parked. Did they all get tickets?

“I began to wonder if I had missed a sign or some sort of posting of this traffic regulation. I scoured the downtown streets and found none. As I drove through town, I did notice many cars parked outside the lines. I guess the City of Albany has found a new ‘cash cow’ to ring in the New Year. Citizens beware!”

The ticket was issued about a quarter to 4 that Wednesday afternoon. It showed the front of her silver Hyundai straddling the front line of a parking spot on First Avenue W. by about a couple of feet. Larime told me she backed into that spot when it was the only one available on that side of the street. By the time the ticket man came around, the cars in front and back evidently had gone.

Albany’s downtown parking regulations are enforced by ParkWise, an arm of the Albany Downtown Association. I asked Lise Grato, the association’s executive director, about this case.

“It is unfortunate that your reader selected a spot where her car couldn’t be parked legally” she wrote, also by email. “In addition to street parking, there are four customer parking lots in Downtown Albany. Although it’s frustrating when spaces are not legally usable, it’s the responsibility of each driver to park within the lines. Each car is individually reviewed. How adjacent cars are parked does not void the requirement for legal parking.”

She also told me that Parkwise writes about 150 tickets a month, and she or the ParkWise manager often reviews tickets and their circumstances when customers come in to complain.

“The goal of ParkWise is to educate as we enforce the City of Albany parking regulations,” Grato wrote. “Photos are now printed on each ticket making it easy to see the violation. Of the citations ParkWise issues each month, about half are warnings. Other drivers are greeted and given friendly reminders without a citation. Even those who are fined may be given a fine reduction depending on the circumstances and if it is their first ticket.”

She added this: “Thank you for helping educate visitors to Downtown.”

Well, that’s the point of this piece. As Carolyn Larime said, “Citizens beware.” (hh)

26 responses to “Crossing the line? That’s a fine”

  1. Delfina Herrera Hoxie says:

    What about trucks that are longer than the parking space?

  2. Shane says:

    I love how you lead the story trying to make us feel sorry for her. “My friend even started talking about moving here”… Haha, have you seen the news lately? Everyone is moving here! The more we can do to chase them off the better! Especially if they are the type upset by getting a parking ticket for being “a couple feet over the line”.

  3. Brad says:

    I’ve been watching them give tickets downtown for years now. Their new favorite thing is to ticket the people who face the wrong way in the back-in parking spots around the post office. Tickets suck, but they don’t happen if you park legally.

  4. Troy Easton says:

    Thank the mayor I’m sure it originated from her idea. Albany has the worse taxes and taxes and this just another money maker scheme

    • Tony White says:

      Amen, brother. Taxes and “fees.” Bigger government doesn’t come free, unless you’re the Fed and can print money.

    • Brad says:

      Expecting people to park legally is a scheme? Parking tickets existed long before Konopa was elected mayor and it’s actually a good thing that parking laws exist. People like Carolyn seem to think that laws shouldn’t apply to them, or that laws should be relaxed just because it’s 2 days after Christmas, or maybe she should be exempt because she’s helping tourism and convincing people to move to Albany. It’s such an incredibly simple thing to park legally and not get a ticket.

  5. Rachel says:

    So who is the person giving the citations? I certainly hope their job consists of more than just going around small ass downtown Albany looking for parking flaws! As a matter of fact, we should be more upset about our taxes going to pay their wages! Was there a vote I missed on this city position? Install parking meters and be done with it. Lise G you’re a very nice lady, super lovely even, but semi horrible at adjusting to this small town .

  6. Peggy Richner says:

    I appreciate the warning. I’ll be extra careful when parking downtown in the future.

  7. Bette says:

    The new back in parking is the worst! With people driving around and around to find a space and others parallel parking across from where you are trying to back in making it worse! Many have trouble backing in. I think they designed it this way so they could make more money! The first time I did it a family with small children walking by stopped right behind me on the sidewalk! Only a matter of time until someone on the sidewalk is hit!

  8. Cheryl P says:

    “even if crossing the line is the only way to fit between cars already parked”

    That’s a sorry-a$$ excuse. I drive an older SUV that’s a bit of a beast; most of the time I’m spot on when it comes to parking, but sometimes I’m not so it’s just habit for to give a quick check to make sure that not only am I parked between the lines, but I’m not so close to the person in front or behind me that they can’t get out, or that the driver to the right of me can’t get into their vehicle or that my butt or side isn’t sitting out in traffic.

    And if I’m not parked correctly, then I get back into my truck and move it until I am. Or if I can’t park correctly, then I move on to another spot. No big deal if I have to go around the block or park further away…heck of a lot cheaper than getting a ticket and/or endangering myself or someone else because I’m too lazy or an a$$-hat to do it right.

  9. John Hartman says:

    It is sad to read Hasso Hering’s lament about this self-induced parking ticket situation.

    There was a time when Hering supported law and order. There was a time when he would have backed the Ticket Writers 100%, but apparently Mr. Hering has decided that readership volume, ginned-up by this maudlin piece of writing, is more important than citizens complying with the law.

    It is truly disheartening to think that Hering, who once was more like ex-Milwaukee sheriff Dave Clark or ex-Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpiao in his insistence on the rule of law. Now, in his dotage, Mr.Hering seems to have gone “soft” like so many on the Social Security dole.

    The damage done by Liberals to American social constructs is bad enough. Albany’s continued meteoric success requires its citizenry to unabashedly respect the law, including the little white parking line law. Mr. Hering should tread carefully when he considers flaunting the rules simply to build audience. Should he continue to publish these so-called tear-jerker pieces, the outcome will be disrespect for the law and those who enforce it.

  10. Terry says:

    Nothing but a Tax! Don’t expect any common sense this is purely an income generation opportunity. Any city that will use red light cameras shows me it’s true colors. I wonder how much park wise gets for their cut?

  11. Donna Clem says:

    This is the reason I do not go to down town Albany for anything but to get my mail out of my P,O box.

  12. Dan says:

    The response is correct. We, the drivers, are responsible to park correctly. But there is also a huge problem with the response. I have parked along first street many times and have not been able to park completely inside the lines because the first car in the row was parked with its tail over the line so every car behind was park illegally. No ticket should be given, unless to the first car, if no drives or walkways are being blocked. Lets be real its parking and the city needs to be very flexible. Unless the car in blocking a drive or walkway or someone in than let it go. Unless of course it’s about money and not safety.

  13. Robert kahn says:

    Use your smart phone to take a picture as to why you can’t park within the lines. If you were issued a citation, email the picture as your reason why you could not park within the lines and have the ticket be forgiven.

  14. My2Cents says:

    What you all don’t realize is that the parking tickets do not come from the City of Albany. It is Parkwise of the Downtown Association that tickets and gets the money from them. It is not a tax put simply a fine due to a lack of respect for the law.

  15. centrist says:

    Geez. Some folks only want rules to apply to ohers. Some folks only want rules that help them.
    I hear excuses that aren’t acceptable for a 6YO. (I didn’t know; there’s no sign; nobody told me; etc)

  16. Dan Watson says:

    I drive a pickup truck and cannot legally park on the street downtown because the truck will not fit between the markings. Interestingly, the City Development Code requires that “Any parallel parking spaces in the right-of-way that are counted toward fulfilling the parking requirements must be at least 25 feet long.”. Many of the newly striped spaces downtown have been re-striped at about 20 feet long. If you want to go downtown leave your truck at home or patronize a business that provides a private lot for you.

    • Bill Higby says:

      Oh, you were the guy whose pickup was occupying the space that I needed for my pickup truck! Downtown is not truck friendly and putting my truck into those spaces when someone has parked their auto hanging over the line is nearly impossible. I am afraid to try the backin spaces at the carousel, the hangover on the truck if my rear wheels bump the curb takes up a big chunk of sidewalk.

  17. Shirley says:

    About a year ago I saw three police cars parked on second street and each was parked outside the lines making it appear that the lines are simply suggestions. There was no obvious reason for them to park outside the lines. Where was ParkWise when they were needed? Maybe the rules don’t apply to APD?

  18. Brad says:

    I just went back and re-read Hasso’s article and I’m not seeing where he’s doing anything you’re whining about. He’s simply stating the facts and quoting the lady who thinks she’s been wronged. He’s not lamenting anything. You can’t make up insults about the author when we can just scroll up and see that you’re making things up.

  19. Lee Anne says:

    Be Thankful you didn’t get a ticket from Tucson, AZ. We parked carefully, checked where we were, but it turns out we were” too close” to the beginning of a driveway, though in no way were we close to blocking it. It was a $125 fine, and they never reduce it for any reason. There were no signs and no lines to indicate we had a parking problem. You are supposed to know you must park 15 feet from the start of any driveway.

  20. hj.anony1 says:

    A close up pic of the pic on the fine notice would have been fun. That plus several additional pics, from different angles of course, of this particular infraction. That’s some added value. Complete with chalk outline of the vehicle.

    We could all be on the jury! I say forgive the fine for making it to hh-today.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      As it turns out, the lady reports that she went in to see the Downtown Association and the ticket was dismissed. All is well that ends well. (hh)

  21. Debbie Ferguson says:

    Thank goodness that I won’t have to worry about that anymore. The place that I hang out is moving out of downtown,


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