Sunday, March 01, 2015

Parking & Abandoned Vehicles

A gal living near Carson Park made the following complaint/ comment on the Eureka Nextdoor Neighorhood e-mail list:

"I am extremely frustrated at the moment. I know our police force does a good job. However, the fact that we have so many crime riddled neighborhoods, ours specifically , and yet a vehicle that hasn't been moved in 3 days received ticket 2 times in one week? Now, I get it. I know there are rules about unregistered vehicles on the roadway. However, I live on the corner of F and dollison and I don't feel that the Hyundai Santa Fe that our son parked there require so much policing. The fact of the matter is, we are doing everything we can to get this immobile unregistered vehicle off of our corner..."

She went on some more after that. My first comment was I wasn't sure what the problem was. As it turns out, sounds like the vehicle is unregistered and immobile. Didn't catch that the first time, but I still wonder what the problem is. How hard can it be to move a vehicle onto your own property where you don't have to worry about it being tagged?

I haven't seen her particular location, so maybe they can't just push it into their garage or driveway. I wonder though, if it's that big a problem, if they should even bother trying to keep the vehicle? It's neither working or registered and the owner seems to be a son who is out of state. Maybe they should just have the vehicle hauled to John's Auto Wreckers out on Jacob's Avenue?

For some reason some people just won't let cars go. I can't help but wonder if this is one of those cases. I've seen it time and again in Eureka. Cars just sitting there, sometimes for years, when there's no reasonable expectation of the car being driven again.

I know of one car that's been sitting in a carport for over 23 years. I know that because I used to work there and the car was there- albeit looking better than it is now- way back then. Now, there it sits and looks yucky, but it's in her carport so nothing can be done in the normal course of things.

Bumped into another car in a driveway not too far from that car. An old station wagon that had obviously been there for some time. Long enough that the windows had so much mold and mildew on them you couldn't see inside the car. Flat tires, the whole nine yards you get with abandoned cars. This was in the lady's driveway so, again, not much can be done. I was so grossed out by the car I didn't even bother giving the lady a bid on the job I was there to check out.

This happens all the time and I'm not sure why people insist on hanging on to cars like that. In the case of the gal who complained on that e-mail list, my suggestion to her was to let EPD haul it off for free. If you haven't even the wherewithal to pay $10 for a non- operation fee, is the car really worth the hassle to you?

As far as cars parked on private property as I cited above, I'm not sure what to think. I'm sure you could get the city to take action. Joel Mielke wrote something about the city charter not allowing things that could endanger property values. I suppose that's good, but I don't like bothering people over how they run their own affairs.

I was wondering if some of these cars could be disposed of by simply asking the people who own them if they'd have any objection to the car being hauled off at no charge? About the only problem with that is I hate everyone else having to pay for the car owner's lack of personal responsibility. But, we might be surprised at how many people would jump at an offer like that, and maybe even more surprised at the number that refuse. 

It still might be worth a try.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Maybe the question is - is THREE DAYS reasonable? If they were gone on vacation they could be gone for two weeks, and come back to find a perfectly good car ticketed for not being moved. Is that reasonable? Maybe it is not running, but they're between paychecks, and it will be the better part of a month before they have the money to get it fixed. These kinds of rules may be well-intended, especially in the minds of those who are perpetually offended, but it sure doesn't make life any easier for the person struggling to afford getting the car fixed.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous LMOB said...

I got two words in before I had to move on...

At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My car was ticketed twice for sitting out front of my house, legally parked, registered and everything while I was home sick for five days, but when someone was trying to break into my garage and I chased them off, the police took 3 hours to come to my house....I believe THIS may be her point!

At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donate cars to pubic radio and the cars will be picked up for free.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

" If they were gone on vacation they could be gone for two weeks, and come back to find a perfectly good car ticketed for not being moved."

I read some stuff in the Times- Standard some years ago back during Garr Nielsen's tenure as Chief of EPD. Someone complained of going on a vacation for a week or so to find their car towed. Apparently some discord between neighbors- some neighbor trying to do in another one.

That shouldn't be what this is about. It should be complaint driven, but not on a whim or bad feelings. I don't like the idea of police going around and tagging whatever vehicles they feel like tagging. If it's an obvious violation, fine.

But, I came out one morning to find my work trailer tagged. This was shortly after Nielsen proclaimed his aggressive approach to abandoned cars.. I had to wonder who tagged it. I wanted to ask him if he was new here because my trailer comes and goes from the front of my house every day.

I came to the conclusion it was some anti- Nielsen guy that wanted to get people pissed off at Nielsen. I still believe that.

Makes sense, doesn't it: start tagging cars and trailers and people would blame it on the Chief who some officers didn't like?

Seems to me the way they do it is fine enough as there is leeway for regular lifestyle in regards parking, at least in regards the public streets. We do need to guard against abuses.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Rose said...

When grass or horsetails start growing through the asphalt under the car, then maybe it is time to tag it. Otherwise, yeah, maybe it's an eyesore, but, let people well enough alone.

No matter what, 3 days is not enough.

At 6:45 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Maybe, but most of those cars have been there longer than 3 days. Three days is just how long the city gives after tagging before taking further action, I believe.

I've given cars I was pretty sure were being dumped next to our house 3 days before I report them. Then EPD tags them and gives them another three days. I just learned that after being tagged 3 days they notify the registered owner by mail of the situation and give ten days for remedial action.

Keep in mind all the owner, or assisting party, has to do to disrupt the process is move the car, and not by much. We had a situation where the manager of the rooming house was arrested and likely on his way to prison. His white pick up was parked across the street and tagged.

His confederates at the druggie house just a couple houses up the street came by pretty much every day, tore off the tag and moved the car, if only 5 feet or so. EPD would tag it again and they'd again tear it off and move the car.

Eventually, they pushed it a bit up the street so it was closer to their house. It was tagged again. A tow truck came to haul it off. They came out to talk to him and told him to leave it. He spoke with them for some time, then left.

They then moved the car directly in front of their house and had other cars park right in front and behind it so it couldn't be towed. The tow truck driver must have made some deal with them, though, as eventually I saw the folks at the druggie house putting all kinds of stuff in the back of the truck. Took them half a day to fill it up. Then they let the tow truck haul it off.

I'm guessing the driver told them the truck gets cleaned out before it's taken to the junkyard so they could put all their trash in it and get it disposed of for free. Clever deal, as it seemed to convince them to let him haul it off.

Took quite some time, though, and that was truck that for some reason they just wouldn't let go. Many of those type of cars people don't care that much about.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Rose said...

I agree the obviously dumped vehicles, which are often filled with bags of trash, all the windows are broken out and worse, those are a real problem and should be dealt with swiftly. They show up overnight, left for someone to deal with. I thought there was a program for dealing with them, following that horrible accident some years ago.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger TISWHATITIS said...

hi, I'm the gal this writer is referring to. This is not an abandoned vehicle, nor is it a vehicle we are unwilling to get rid of because of sentimental reasons, it's simply a normal car parked on the street. the registration tags are not good, I have paid the tickets, and the DMV paperwork is in the mail according to our son. Sorry for any confusion on this. it was honestly only my intention to vent a little frustration about misused patrol time. Our neighborhood is currently crime riddled. However after receiving information from our law enforcement about how and why these tickets are issued, I have a new understanding. I'm sorry for any misunderstanding or confusion this post has caused everyone. Believe me this car is becoming more embarrassing by the day :-) I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday afternoon

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Rose said...

So, what is the protocol for getting rid of a car if you have one sitting and don't want or need it anymore, it won't smog, so you can't sell it, what do you do?

How much does it cost to haul it to a wrecking yard? Are there any wrecking yards left? How much does it cost, or does the wrecking yard buy it from you because the scrap metal alone is worth something?

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"So, what is the protocol for getting rid of a car if you have one sitting and don't want or need it anymore, it won't smog, so you can't sell it, what do you do?"

In a case like that EPD will be doing you a favor if they tag it. They'll haul it off at no cost to you, eventually.

My own personal experience was my old rust bucket of a work truck. Nobody ever complained about it (that I know of) and I drove it for many years. I ended up with a mechanical problem with it so felt I had no choice but to buy another truck.

After I bought the new truck, I got to thinking that nothing said I had to get rid of the old one. I kinda liked it. Then I got to thinking and realized it would likely sit on the side of my house and deteriorate even more, becoming even more of an eyesore.

I decided to get rid of it and, being it still ran, had the wife follow me down to John's Auto Wreckers on Jacob's Avenue. I went in to the office, told the guy that I just drove that truck in and it's theirs if they want it. He said, "Ok, I'll take it". Done deal.

I've heard they might charge $100 to accept some cars, but they took mine no charge. I've also heard it costs $100 to have a car towed to that auto wreckers, but that was some time ago. Not sure what it costs now.

Bottom line is, Eureka should haul them off for free, from what I understand, but that's after the tagging procedure. I wouldn't be surprised, if you call vehicle abatement, if they wouldn't take an eyesore for free. That's in Eureka, of course. I don't know about the county.


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