A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Lift parking limits near West? Council says no

Written September 13th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Umatilla Street is one of four street segments across from West Albany High School where street parking is restricted.

Because of all the construction at West Albany High, students driving to school this year are having more trouble than usual finding a place to park. A proposal to help them by temporarily suspending parking limits in the neighborhood north of the school found no favor with the city council this week.

The idea, brought to the council Monday by Deputy City Manager Jorge Salinas, was to put bags over the no-parking signs on sections of four streets across Queen Avenue from West.

But Mayor Sharon Konopa and Councilor Bill Coburn, among others, voiced objections. Konopa recalled the time many years ago when neighborhood complaints about students parking on their streets caused the city to impose limits. On Monday, the council’s concerns included parking for the residents, access by emergency vehicles, and where to put the trash bins on pick-up day.

One hour is the limit on this end of Liberty.


On 16th at Umatiilla, the limit starts at 8 a.m., but does that mean the entire block?


So what happened on this since Monday’s council work session?

Salinas told me he got back in touch with the school district. He learned that the West Albany administration told the juniors and seniors that during the construction period they need to park on Elm Street, including the lot on the west side of Elm, or on Liberty on the west side of campus. “And if they park elsewhere they need to be good neighbors.”

Salinas also said the police department had contacted the contractor. Workers will park in the construction zone parking lot instead of taking up available slots on the streets.

Looking around the neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, I found different no-parking rules on the streets north of the school.

On Lawnridge, weekday parking is limited to two hours between 9 and 4. One block to the east on Liberty, a dead-end street, the limit is one hour during school hours. Another block east, on Takena, directly across from the school, there are no parking restrictions at all, at least no signs that I could see. Another block east, on Umatilla, parking is limited to two hours between 9 and 5:30. Finally, on 16th Avenue at Umatilla, the posted limit is two hours from 8 to 5, but it’s unclear how far this extends.

No word on whether the variety of parking limits has led to confusion among high school students, residents, or anyone else. In any case, Salinas says, “At this point, APD plans to continue to issue parking citations for violations reported in this area.”

So try to pay attention to the signs. Or ride your bike to school and forget about having to park your car. (hh)

7 responses to “Lift parking limits near West? Council says no”

  1. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “Or ride your bike to school and forget about having to park your car.”

    Kids don’t have the wherewithal to walk to school anymore?

  2. J. Jacobson says:

    Given the utter confusion coming out of the Leadership, does anyone seriously expect High School students will do any better? Besides, pesky parking tickets are a proven tool in educating young people about justice?

  3. Patrick John Quinn says:

    I live in the West Albany High School neighborhood and find it ironic that Kanopa would nix putting bags over the restricted parking signs on Umatilla street. I go down that street several times a day, and have never seen APD enforce (and rightly so in my opinion) the two hour parking. I often see the same car(s) in the same place during the entire school time. They might as well just get rid of the the signs. Again, this is just my opinion, the people actually living on Umatilla might have a different opinion.

  4. Bill says:

    If the kids live more than 30 feet from the school they can ride the Bus…I believe that’s what is mandated! …Farther than that would be inhumane and we wouldn’t want to put them through that!

    • Russ says:

      High School students are eligible to receive transportation if they live more than 1.5 miles from school.

  5. Albany YIMBY says:

    I agree with the decision but not for the same reason.

    There is no such thing as the right to park on the street, either for the students or the residents. Free parking is very expensive for cities and society in terms of space, real estate, construction costs, and resources spent on its maintenance. So, for that reason I don’t support the right for the residents to appropriate a piece of public street as their own garage.

    But on the other hand, there is absolutely no reason teenagers need to drive to their High School. Driving is a luxury at that age and not a right, they can always walk, ride a bike or use the school bus.

  6. A B says:

    I disagree with this decision. While I understand the wariness of local neighbors having excess cars clogging up their streets, the blocks in question are rarely at a loss for parking. If there are parking restrictions, how are the local residents able to park on the street anyway? Do they obtain a permit or something?

    As for the various comments about students not needing a car, but instead they should make use of walking, biking, or using the bus, this isn’t always an option. Many students have extra curricular activities such as sports, band, drama, yearbook/newspaper that keep them at school late or require them to show up early. Not saying this is true for everyone, but if this were the case for a student in North Albany or out in Tangent for example, I wouldn’t expect them to walk all the way home just because parking is temporarily at a shortage.


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