Friday, November 09, 2007

Eureka Getting Serious About Stored Cars?

I'm curious what "stepped up enforcement" refers to when referring to Eureka's vehicle abatement program? So far, from my own personal experience, they handle it pretty well. While vehicles aren't supposed to be parked anywhere for over 72 hours, I've gotten the impression they let it go if they know the car is alongside the owner's property, isn't an eyesore and actually goes somewhere every now and then.

I had the vehicle abatement guy stop by my house after my trailer got wrecked and I had the trailer parked on the Trinity Street side of the house for a few weeks awaiting disposal. The guy, whose name escapes me now (but it's not the one listed in the E/R article), just asked if the trailer belonged to me. I told him it did and he left after telling me the city would actually haul it off for free if I'd like. I got rid of it on my own.
Storing vehicles on the streets is one of my pet peeves. That's one reason I took my old Ford Ranger pick- up to the auto wreckers right after I bought the truck I drive now. I was thinking I didn't really have to get rid of it. Nothing wrong with having two trucks, except I would have to pay for the extra insurance.

But the main reason I got rid of it quick is I knew if I parked it on the side of the house it would likely end up just sitting there and slowly deteriorate as we so often see with permanently parked cars. I wouldn't want someone else doing that and so I shouldn't do that myself. I drove it down the auto wreckers on Jacob's Avenue in Eureka. Luckily, they took the truck without charging me.
Some people don't do that, though. I got on the late Tish Wilburn's bad side a while back when she was running for city council. I told her she needed to do something about her old junk car that seemed to be permanently parked at one place or another on her street. She wouldn't want someone bringing that up when she's campaigning.

She got a bit irked with me and explained that it wasn't her car anymore. She'd given it to some guy who, according to her, owned something like 30 other cars others had given him and he had them parked all over town.

Now why the hell would someone go around parking cars all over the place just to own them? To add insult to injury, the guy finally seemed to settle on parking Tish's old car out in front of some apartments I did work at. Parking was tough enough there as it was. With Tish's car parked there semi- permanently, one less parking space was available.

I resigned myself to turn the car in to vehicle abatement. I wrote down the license number and details and, as so often happens, dropped the ball.

I did notice that the car's registration expired the next month and figured if I came back after the license expired and he hadn't renewed it, it would be even easier to have it hauled off. Unfortunately, when I returned in August the guy had actually renewed the registration although the car hadn't been moved in maybe six months.

Shortly thereafter, I happened to see the vehicle abatement guy driving around not far from Tish's old house and the junk car. After a few blocks I got his attention and he stopped. I told him the situation and he said, regardless of the registration status, the vehicle could be hauled if parked for more than 72 hours.

He said he'd go check it out. The next time I went back to those apartments the car was gone. Haven't seen it since. Wonder if it got towed?
The next door neighbor (well... across the street neighbor), Jenny, was concerned about the car parked next to my house near the corner, on Trinity Street. I explained to her that it belonged to one of the guys staying at the half- way house across the street, but I had no idea why he'd parked it there. That seemed to alleviate her concerns for the time being.

It's been sitting there for weeks now and I haven't seen the guy. I'm wondering if he moved and left his car here? Probably have to have vehicle abatement check that one out one of these days if they don't find it on their own. I actually prefer people parking on the Trinity Street side of my house than out front or across the street, but not if he's just going to leave it there.
Next question: What do you do about all the abandoned vehicles in people's yards?


At 9:05 PM, Blogger mresquan said...

You're acting a bit authoritarian for a change here Fred,what gives?Although I agree that abandoning vehicles is totally lame.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Which is acting authoritarian; supporting the vehicle abatement program, asking if anything should be done about junk cars people have stored on their property in public view, or both?

At 8:25 AM, Blogger mresquan said...

"asking if anything should be done about junk cars people have stored on their property in public view"

That one.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yeah. I suppose that doesn't sound all that libertarian. Maybe I should have asked the question, "What, IF ANYTHING, should be done...".

To some extent it certainly should be ones personal business what they store on their property. But what If the old wrecked car is sitting in their front yard making it the eyesore of the neighborhood? Should there be an ordinance in regards such things? I don't know but I'd be sympathetic.

Just yesterday I once again drove by an "abandoned" car in someone's car port. I know that car's been sitting there since at least 1992 because I used the mow that lady's lawn and the car was sitting in her car port way back then. I don't believe it's been moved since.

Sure, it's on her property and not totally out where all can see it, but you can tell it's an abandoned vehicle just by looking at it in the car port.

If you want to see that car, it's on Hillside Drive in Eureka, just off Harrison. See if you can pick it out.

Makes the neighborhood look like crap. Just how far should we go in enforcing "view" laws? I don't know.

I know I was called to do an estimate at a place once. There was a car in the driveway that had been obviously sitting there for a decade or two. The house was one of those that made you feel dirty just being around. The abandoned car was the final straw that made me decide not to have anything to do with that place. That car was out in the driveway for everyone to see. Yuck. Neighbors must have been hating it.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger mresquan said...

So what if one owns a home in dire need of a paint job,bad enough to be viewed as an eyesore,and can't afford to repaint,or simply doesn't want to.Should city government act?

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Fred said...

That's just it. How far do you go with this sort of thing? Never mind that different people will have different opinions on what constitutes too much of an eyesore and what doesn't.


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