Longview police are able to respond to abandoned vehicle complaints more quickly since a second community service officer (CSO) was assigned to patrol in early January.
CSO Cindy Lopez Werth estimated the department receives about 45 abandoned vehicle complaints per month that community service officers respond to as call load allows. With two CSO’s handling those complaints, an officer will respond within a few days to a week rather than a month or more as in previous years.
According to Longview Municipal Code 11.44.147 in effect since 1999,
No person shall park any vehicle, including utility trailers, camping trailers, travel trailers, motor-homes, mobile homes, campers, boats or recreational vehicles, or automobiles, trucks or other vehicles upon a street, a publicly owned or controlled parking facility, or upon other public property within the city limits of Longview for the purpose of:
(1) Storing, repairing, or rehabilitating any inoperative vehicle, except repairs, necessitated by an emergency, which can be accomplished within a single 24-hour period.
(2) Habitation in a vehicle or occupying a vehicle for residential purposes.
The maximum fine for such parking violation shall be the sum of $35.
An officer issues a three-day warning if a vehicle is legally parked upon first response. However, if a vehicle is illegally parked upon first response, an officer can issue a $20 ticket and return 24 hours later to tow the vehicle.
Examples of illegal parking include, but are not limited to, parking facing the wrong direction, parking more than 12 inches from a curb, parking within 5 feet of a driveway, parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant and parking in a yellow zone. Also, a vehicle with expired plates may not use the street for storage.
To report an abandoned vehicle on the public right of way, call the non-emergency dispatcher at 577-3098. Another option is to file complaint online via Ask Longview by going to http://user.govoutreach.com/longview/support.php.
Please provide the following information when complaining about an abandoned vehicle: color, make, model, license plate, exact address where it is parked and how long it has been there. It also helps to include information about body damage or flat tires. The CSOs will respond to the complaints as call load permits.
“We would prefer to work with vehicle owners to give them the opportunity to comply with the law rather than automatically ticketing and towing people’s vehicles,” Werth said.
Werth said she and CSO Cindy Turpen do make an effort to contact registered owners to explain the law so they can move their vehicles to driveways or garages to avoid the expense of tickets, towing and impound storage fees.
Registered owners will be charged $178 for towing and $45 for each day of storage to retrieve an impounded vehicle. Tow companies charge more if registered owners want to retrieve their vehicles outside of regular business hours.