The number of vehicles illegally parked and abandoned in the City of Battle Ground has been steadily increasing. In response, the city is increasing its efforts to address illegally parked and abandoned vehicles and wants the community to know what to expect.
The city’s Municipal Code defines an abandoned vehicle as “a vehicle that has been left on the public right-of-way or any public parking lot controlled by the city for a period on seventy-two hours or more.” The code further states that it is unlawful to abandon a vehicle and provides a process for notification, impoundment, and penalty by fine should the code be violated.
In simple terms, vehicles that are left parked on a public street for 3 days or more are considered abandoned and the owner is subject to having the car impounded and paying a fine. There is, however, a process and the first step the code compliance or police officer takes is to notify the owner to try to gain voluntary compliance.
The initial notification is made by placing a warning tag on the vehicle, then a 24-hour timeline begins. If the vehicle is not removed within 24 hours, the officer will attempt to contact the owner. If the vehicle is registered to a neighboring residence, the officer will try to make personal contact by knocking on the door and will leave a door hanger notification if contact is not made. Some vehicles are registered to owners who reside elsewhere and some vehicles have no license plate. Notifications may take more time, but there is always an attempt to contact the owner. If no contact can be made and the vehicle is not removed, the officer will call for the vehicle to be towed and it will be impounded.
A partnership with the community is a key component in identifying and responding to abandoned vehicles. Residents are most familiar with the vehicles in their neighborhoods and recognize when one may be abandoned. With 80 miles of streets in the city, we rely on residents to report potential cases within neighborhoods. Suspected abandoned vehicles may be reported using the online Citizen Action Request form.
Parking restrictions also apply to vehicle types. The municipal code has specific regulations addressing parking of semi-trailers, large trucks, and recreational vehicles. Two sections of the city’s Municipal Code address parking regulations: Chapter 10.12 and Chapter 10.14. Abandoned vehicles are addressed in Chapter 8.15. Residents and vehicle owners are encouraged to become familiar with regulations and restrictions.
The City believes that voluntary compliance is always the best approach. Officers are conducting increased enforcement with a focus on voluntary compliance but are are also applying fines and impounding vehicles to address non-compliance.