Clairmont: Solution Needed to Avoid Improper Ticketing Hotspots

Construction+signs+located+on+25th+Avenue+which+blocks+parking+for+both+the+Delta+Upsilon+Fraternity+and+the+apartment+complex+directly+across+the+street+from+Delta+Upsilon.+With+parking+being+restricted+on+the+next+street+over%2C+parking+has+become+increasingly+less+available.

Sam Misa, Photographer

Construction signs located on 25th Avenue which blocks parking for both the Delta Upsilon Fraternity and the apartment complex directly across the street from Delta Upsilon. With parking being restricted on the next street over, parking has become increasingly less available.

Kimberly Clairmont, Columnist

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Corvallis community members are outraged at being improperly ticketed for street parking every year. City officials must devise a plan to put an end to the mess and miscommunications.

Parking meters, time limits and tow away zones prevent many Oregon State University community members from finding affordable parking near campus all year. 

While these problems have been circulating within the OSU community for decades, another issue related to the mess that needs addressing is the frequency of illegitimate parking tickets handed out to community members. 

Construction projects conducted near campus throughout the year make matters worse. So far in 2021, there have been over 12 construction projects conducted within the City of Corvallis and there are many more scheduled to begin this month.

According to OSU Today, the 2021 through 2022 Street Resurfacing Project will cause closures on NW Harrison Boulevard. The street will be completely blocked off from public vehicle access between NW 31st Street and NW 34th Street from Sept. 20 through Oct. 3. 

One past project in particular that affected OSU community members’ ability to park ran from Aug. 16 through Sept. 16. The project prohibited community members from parking on parts of Van Buren Avenue and 24th Street. 

The construction team, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., put up ‘no parking zone’ signs. They were removed Friday at 7 p.m. and placed back Monday morning at 7 a.m. 

Because the signs were removed on the weekends, OSU community members utilized the street parking in areas that were usually blocked off for Emery and Sons Construction Group LLC Monday through Friday. 

Some individuals unfamiliar with the weekday protocol parked their cars on the street overnight on Sunday. 

John Henry Ruiz, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at OSU, was ticketed on Sept. 13 just before 9 a.m. after parking on the street not labeled as a ‘no parking zone’ the night before. 

“I had been on vacation visiting friends in Tennessee,” Ruiz said. “I flew in last night… I made it back to Corvallis around 11:25 p.m. and I parked my car on the side of the street then and there were no signs saying ‘go away’ or ‘no parking here.’”

Since Ruiz was out of town the week prior and there was no sign out when he parked there on Sunday night warning him that he couldn’t park there past the hours of 7 a.m., on Monday morning, Ruiz was shocked when he found a ticket on his car.

“This morning I woke up… and I came out for lunch to my car to find a ticket saying I am not allowed to park there and a new sign saying ‘no parking here’ that wasn’t there last night. I got a $45 ticket for that,” Ruiz said.

While the parking ticket itself is aggravating enough to these individuals, now those who were improperly ticketed must set aside time from their already busy schedules to contest the parking tickets at the Corvallis Municipal Court.

Ruiz said he was extremely upset about the whole ordeal. 

“Now I have to take time out of my day on Thursday to go to court and appeal the ticket,” Ruiz said. “There should be some way to notify us instead of just putting the signs up and then immediately ticketing us. That’s pretty ridiculous, honestly.”

The construction team’s sign protocol approved by the City of Corvallis on 24th Street is not serving their purpose of alerting the public that they could be fined if they leave their cars near the sites over the weekend. 

Those living near OSU’s campus fraternity are most affected by the inconsistency of these parking regulations. Ruiz said he knows other fraternity brothers who have run into the same problem. 

“There is another fraternity member of mine who got a ticket on his car and he was parked right beside our fraternity house… I was parked next to Sigma Chi,” Ruiz said. 

While the improper ticketing is frustrating for some Corvallis community members, Emery and Sons construction workers said the miscommunication regarding parking on Van Buren Avenue has also prevented them from finishing their job.

On Sept. 13, Jeff Schnepp, the superintendent of the Emery and Sons construction company, said, “There were 13 cars I wanted towed when I got to work this morning simply because we need to get the job done.” 

Schnepp also said the company’s ‘no parking’ signs frequently go missing and are constantly vandalized. Collectively, the stolen and damaged property adds up to over a thousand dollars in damages. 

“Four road signs were missing just this morning,” Schnepp said. “A lot of the signs end up in various fraternity houses.” 

There must be repercussions for all parties. The police are only doing their job, unaware of what is happening from a civilian standpoint. The construction companies want to finish their jobs as well but aren’t providing proper notice to community members.

New regulations could solve the lack of communication between all parties involved and cut out the middleman: the Corvallis Municipal Courthouse being flooded with OSU community members who felt the ticketing was unjust. 

Schnepp’s team has been contracted with the City of Corvallis for over eight years. He said every year they reencounter the same problems while working in the Corvallis area. 

With another road closure approaching near campus on NW Harrison Boulevard, another blockage of a significant stretch of street parking usually desired by students is soon to take action.

The secondary issues that stem from construction projects near campus are likely to reappear on NW Harrison Boulevard, but they can be prevented in future endeavors. 

After almost a decade of wasted time, money and labor, the city must create new protocols in order to prevent the growing resentment between the police, OSU community members and third-party vendors just trying to better our city.