Lawsuit challenges parking restrictions near WLHS
West Linn High School senior Rory Bialostosky may be graduating this spring, but that doesn't mean he's giving up on his fight to open up parking for students near the school.
After his initial writ of review challenging a longstanding residential parking zone near the high school was thrown out this past fall due to what Bialostosky deemed a procedural error on his part, he returned in 2018 with a "petition for declaratory judgement and injunctive relief" filed at Clackamas County Circuit Court.
The petition challenges the validity of Resolution 2017-20, which was passed unanimously by the West Linn City Council at a Sept. 11 meeting and was intended to uphold the zone that had been enforced for the last 22 years. Under that zone, street parking is limited to those with residential permits between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on school days.
The resolution was deemed a necessary step after the council and City staff discovered that portions of Easy and West A streets weren't technically covered by the original ordinance passed in 1995. Then and now, residents in favor of the parking restrictions cited safety concerns related to speeding, as well as loitering and noise issues.
Bialostosky sees it differently and hopes to find a middle ground — but only after throwing out the current parking zone and starting over.
"The declaratory judgement seeks to declare Resolution 2017-20 invalid," Bialostosky said. "And the injunctive relief request seeks to enjoin the City from enforcement."
In the lawsuit, Bialostosky wrote about how the parking restrictions had impacted him personally — on financial and physical levels — and challenged their validity.
"The Plaintiff is challenging the validity of Resolution 2017-20, the process used by the City Council in coming to their decision ... and the process by which the City of West Linn has enforced the residential parking zone, which violated the West Linn City Charter, state law and the United States constitution," Bialostosky wrote.
Bialostosky met with Mayor Russ Axelrod in December to discuss possible solutions to the problem — both agreed not to discuss pending litigation — and in the weeks following, Axelrod suggested a possible compromise that would open up segments of some streets for student parking.
Bialostosky said he'd be open to such a compromise should the lawsuit prove successful in stopping enforcement of the resolution.
"I'm not angling for all streets (to be open) because some are too narrow," he said. "With the lawsuit, the ideal (outcome) is to get the parking zone thrown out and enforce a new one. I'm open to compromise and have told City staff that.
"It's nothing personal, I'm more just trying to solve a problem."
The council and City attorneys have met in two executive sessions — which are closed to the public — to discuss how to respond to the lawsuit, the most recent taking place Wednesday, Jan. 31. Axelrod said more information will be available to the public at a later date.
"The city has been receiving numerous emails on the parking matter, and staff and our city attorney are working on a general information summary regarding the pending lawsuit and related matters to share with the public in response," Axelrod said. "The information will provide general information on City considerations and work in progress. Beyond that I have nothing more to say at this time."