Illegally parked cars, keep on 'em!

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago.

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    I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on a person who seems to be parking a lot of cars down by 54th & 15th. We had a car up here in Hillbillyland with ’11 tabs. Car appeared to not run, just appeared. It got reported and cited then got pushed down the street. In doing license plate look-up, there is a name associated which is strange, most times there aren’t unless it is something Bad.

    This name has 20ish aliases and pages and pages and pages (seriously, can’t count them) of infractions ranging from expired plates (many cars), assault, stalking, violating a restraining order, and theft. Many cases/citations are unpaid. The person was in jail for 3-4 years so there’s a gap but they are decidedly back and have started 2015 off with a bang.

    Just fyi. I know there can be a bit of passiveness if the cars/campers are more in an industrial area but it’s a reminder that you might not really want to be “neighbors” with the person who owns them. This person also frequents 95th & Greenwood and, as evidenced by us, points north. I didn’t look at how many cars, I do know he got about 10 citations on one day, all on different cars.



    Thanks for this info. I wish that there was some interface to pass this, let’s call it what it is, intel, to SPD in an organized way – I see it here and on NextDoor regularly, but coming up with something structured would make it easier to both a) allocate resources, and b) track responses.



    You mean, something like the Find It, Fix It app?



    Find it, Fix it is a good app, plus you can keep track of it all. I believe parking enforcement does not know previous problems or outstanding tickets, unfortunately. What I do is use this: if I see “questionable” cars. Oftentimes then the name associated will show just how widespread the problem is, not just one person with one car that isn’t driven.

    I know sometimes it’s easy to think “it’s just one car” but after seeing some of the things I’ve seen regarding the people associated with the car in question, I figure it’s better to get the message out that they aren’t welcome to store their non-running vehicles in our neighborhood.



    You can report abandoned vehicles (ones that have been parked for more than 72 hours) via an online form that goes to the city’s customer service bureau.

    Here’s the link:



    CR, absolutely! What I like about the app is it is (so they say), anon. Not that it matters. Also it seems like my history reporting online, and I did set up a user profile, doesn’t show some of the specifics like license plate #. The app however, does. It’s kind of nice to have a history of my requests so if I see what I think is the same vehicle, I can check. Or if it’s back, I don’t have to go look up the license plate # again :) Both ways can submit pictures too, which is nice.



    I am, of course, aware, of the Find It, Fix It app. I guess I’m just jaded and assume that those things are going into a big black bureaucratic hole because there is no visibility on the other side of things – I can submit things that I see, but I have no way to see if others have done the same thing for the same problem, or what resolution occurred.



    teigyr – If you are concerned about the person you describe, you might ask our Community Police Team officer Mike Kruzan to check out the situation. His number is 206-233-3733.

    Also, if you think the vehicle is being lived in and perhaps has overstayed its welcome (more than 72 hours), you can report it to the Customer Service Bureau. The CSB has a fairly new system that records these calls and refers them to Parking Enforcement for follow up.

    Vehicle residents do move around in order to avoid getting ticketed. That said, nearly one third of the homeless people considered “unsheltered” are living in a vehicle. Those numbers are increasing and homelessness is not going away any time soon. We need to do better.



    “We need to do better” What? You mean pick up the tab for the flaky people that make poor choices? Gee, Bob and I went to the casino and got plowed, before you know it I blew all my rent money on the slot machines. Sorry, can the city pay my rent this month? Can the mayor cover my child support too? My dog needs its teeth cleaned. I just need 50 cents for some Steel Reserve beer.



    There are at least six, maybe eight car-camping vehicles parked around Ballard Commons that have way overstayed their welcome. The city won’t do anything about it.



    CR-I’m curious about the vehicles you mentioned. By saying the city won’t do anything are you saying that they have been reported and sit forever, or they move a few feet every 72 hours and the city can’t do anything?

    Too bad this city doesn’t require a city sticker for each vehicle like Chicago does. It cuts down on the car farming. As far as car camping goes, I am at a loss at what to do, besides report again and again if they are there over 72 hours. It is quite true that the city permits this behavior.

    Perhaps a car camping flash mob in front of the Mayor’s house? City Council? The Commons?



    Marigold, I’ve asked parking enforcement cops about this and they said the owners of those vehicles game the system by moving once every 72 hours to avoid getting ticketed. They can do that by just moving a foot or two but essentially staying in the same place and monopolizing a parking spot. I know of one person who has parked two camping vehicles, a car and a van, in the block by the library for several years. Yes, years. He spends his days hanging out at Ballard Commons and is reportedly a drug dealer.

    And even if they do get ticketed, they usually don’t get towed, because folks with St. Luke’s and the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness set up a “scofflaw mitigation” program under which they pay off tickets for car-campers who break the rules. So you can thank those folks for helping ensure that a few who take advantage of the system are enabled to keep doing it.



    Has any group ever discussed the possibility of creating a parking zone in that are? By that I mean residents get permits and all other parking is banned from 2am-5am? But then again that would just push the problem into another neighborhood, but it might be nice to “break up the band” that hangs in the park.

    My corner of the neighborhood does not have it as bad, but believe me, I report every vehicle that I see parked for more than 72 hours that I know for sure it does not belong to a neighbor or their guests. The city has been very responsive to the on-line abandoned vehicle form and the find-it fix-it app.


    Salmon Bay

    If the campers are over 80″ wide, they can’t park around the library overnight.

    11.72.070 – Commercial and large size vehicles. No person shall park a vehicle on any street or alley, except in an Industrial Zone as defined in Title 23, between the hours of midnight and six (6) a.m. if the vehicle is a truck and/or trailer or other conveyance which is over eighty (80) inches wide.

    These vehicles can also not just move a foot or two to avoid the 72-hour limit.

    11.72.240 – Moving vehicle to avoid time limit. No person shall move and repark a vehicle on either side of a street within the same block in order to avoid a parking time limit regulation specified for either side of the street in that particular block.

    If the vehicles are junk, then they can also be reported and impounded. If they don’t have a current registration, then they can be cited.

    11.14.268 – Junk motor vehicle.
    A.”Junk motor vehicle” means any motor vehicle meeting at least three of the following requirements:
    1.Left on private property without the permission of the person having right to the possession of the property;
    2.Left on a street, alley way open to the public, or on municipal or other public property for twenty-four (24) hours or longer;
    3.Extensively damaged, such damage including but not limited to any of the following: A broken window or windshield, missing wheels, tires, motor, or transmission;
    4.Apparently inoperable;
    5.Having a fair market value of Five Hundred Dollars ($500) or less;
    6.Without a current certificate of registration or a current and proper vehicle license.
    B.Vehicles in Violation of this Section. Junk motor vehicles are subject to impoundment as provided for in Chapter 11.30 SMC in addition to any other penalty provided for by law.
    11.72.500 – Junk vehicles.
    A.No person shall park a junk motor vehicle on a street, alley, or way open to the public, or on municipal or other public property.
    B.Violation of subsection A is a Class 1 civil infraction as contemplated by Chapter 7.80 RCW for which there shall be a penalty of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250), which penalty shall not be suspended or deferred.

    A little farther north, the illegally parked cars that are a nuisance are the ones parked on the planting strip portion of a driveway, and inevitably blocking the sidewalk. I was going to leave courtesy notes on these cars asking them not to do it, but my wife said save the confrontation, just report them. So I am…



    “They can do that by just moving a foot or two but essentially staying in the same place and monopolizing a parking spot.”
    — Vehicles must be moved off the block in order to comply with the 72 hour ordinance.

    “they pay off tickets for car-campers who break the rules”
    — Early on, the Scofflaw Mitigation Project did have funds donated to help people pay for tickets if it was determined they were indigent and unable to pay. For a couple of years, however, there have been no donations and no money to pay for anything.
    — I cannot speak for what St Luke’s does to help vehicle residents. That question should be put to the Vicar at St Luke’s.

    A major reason we see vehicles reappear in the same area is that there is no housing affordable to someone who has low or no income. Being homeless and trying to survive by living in your vehicle is not a crime.

    Nearly one third of people considered to be “unsheltered” live in a vehicle. Beyond the far too limited “Road to Housing” program, people living in vehicles have very little recourse than to continue to survive living in a vehicle and trying to keep from accumulating parking tickets they cannot pay.

    “Perhaps a car camping flash mob in front of the Mayor’s house? City Council?”
    — Good idea but the focus should be on demanding that more low income housing be built and preventing what low income housing still exists in Seattle be replaced by any developer wishing to redevelop a property.

    Bottom line is there simply is not enough housing that people can afford and people on the verge of being homeless are being pushed out as a result of rising rents.



    NWCitizen, please. There are several vehicles that are definitely not moved off the block within 72 hours. I walk by there almost every day and regularly see the same vehicles parked in the exact same spots for several days. If they move, they just move to the other side of the street or right around the corner, which is essentially staying put.

    I’m glad to hear that the Scofflaw Mitigation project is no longer continuing to enable this behavior. Good.

    No one said being homeless or living in a vehicle is a crime. But people should not be able to monopolize free parking meant for the general public, particularly in an area where parking is a premium, for weeks, months, years on end. That’s just abusing the system.

    The focus should definitely be on demanding that more low-income housing is built. On that we agree. But the city needs to stop supporting band-aid solutions like tent cities and Urban Rest Stops that just encourage more homeless people to come to Seattle and do absolutely nothing to reduce the problem. They city needs to stop simply managing homelessness, which is all we’ve been doing and why the 10-year plan has failed miserably. The measures you advocate for are not working. They’ve led us to the crisis we’re in today.

    You raise a good point about St. Luke’s. They attract car-campers with the services they provide, which are obviously important, but they also have a sizable chunk of land and from what I can see, are not providing parking for those extra vehicles they attract. Perhaps they should open up their property for car campers.

    Yes, Seattle is expensive. So perhaps people should consider moving to less expensive areas, like Renton, Tukwila, etc. There seems to be this mindset that absolutely everyone is entitled to live in Seattle. I lived in the suburbs when I couldn’t afford to live in the city. That’s life.



    Okay NW, I agree that a “major reason we see vehicles reappear in the same area is that there is no housing affordable to someone who has low or no income. Being homeless and trying to survive by living in your vehicle is not a crime.” I also think a major reason is that folks know they can car camp in Seattle is because the city officials allow them to. Why does Seattle have to absorb (the cost) of so many homeless? King County and the state of WA need to pony up with this issue and spend the money to build affordable housing.

    BTW, I do NOT vilify developers who buy properties for top dollar and redevelop at market rates from folks who themselves make huge profits on properties they have willfully neglected over decades in the guise of offering affordable housing. BS. Those people are the true criminals.



    Seattle is because the city officials allow them to.

    I know for a fact car camping is not tolerated on Queen Anne and Magnolia. When it comes to the city’s response to car campers, their complaints get more attention.



    Bingo, Marigold. People know they can car-camp in Seattle without getting hassled, which encourages more of them to come here. The ones who drift here from elsewhere should just drift right back out.



    teigyr, Can you tell us how to look up the owner’s name based on the license plate?



    I’m not clear how moving a vehicle every 72 hours so as to avoid getting a ticket is “gaming the system”. It could also be interpreted as obeying the law.



    Let me spell it out for you, NWCitizen: There are about half a dozen car-campers around Ballard Commons who may move their vehicles very slightly every 72 hours, but remain in the same block or right around the corner, effectively monopolizing free parking in the same area that is supposed to be available for the general public. There are some who have been doing this for months and even years at a time. This is gaming the system and violating the spirit of the law.

    Is that clearer?



    What is clear CR is that you equate obeying the law to “gaming the system”.



    You might think that occupying free public parking spaces meant for everyone to use – in an area where parking is extremely tight – for months or years on end is OK, NWCitizen, but I don’t, and likely a lot of other people don’t either. I call that abusing and gaming the system.

    It’s unfortunate that people like you condone bad behavior and encourage it to continue.



    Hermits in the city! Seattle is spending 40 million a year to pamper the bums and that encourages drifters to vacation on our streets. What a terrible waste of money. Something is wrong with our priorities in this town.

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