Troutdale lifts cross-country skiing ban
When the city first presented changes to it parking restriction code in February, a member of the audience noticed skiing was illegal within the city limits.
Troutdale resident Alan Pettengil realized that when he strapped on a pair of cross country skis during the rare times it snows in the city he was unwittingly breaking the law.
At the council's meeting on Tuesday, March 12, he requested the prohibition be removed. City Councilor Jamie Kranz also discovered she was afoul of the law at times because she also likes to strap on skis during wintry weather. She supported the ban's removal along with a majority of councilors.
While the council originally agreed to remove the ban entirely, frequent Troutdale citizen commenter Paul Wilcox objected during the council's second discussion regarding the code update on Tuesday, April 9, saying that allowing skiing in the city would increase the city's liability.
Councilors agreed to a compromise and banned downhill skiing, while allowing for cross-country ski recreation. The council voted 6-1 to adopt all the proposed code changes at its meeting on Tuesday, May 28.
The original reasoning behind the code update wasn't to allow citizens to ski legally, but rather to clear up confusing language to help Troutdale officials enforce its parking restrictions, said Troutdale Community Development Director Chris Damgen. Municipal Code Chapter 10-Vehicles was written more than 35 years ago, and had seen only sparse updates since first being enacted.
Other than clearing up the murky text, the update allowed riding bicycles on Troutdale sidewalks in residential streets, and established that abandoned cars may be left for seven days instead of five days before the city can tow them.
"Basically allowing for a full week for the owner to rectify that situation," Damgen explained. "There was a concern that (five days) may not have been enough time."
The new code also allows the city to place a bright orange sticker on an abandoned vehicle with a warning the car will be towed if not taken care of within a week. The prior code required city officials to contact the owner of the vehicle, which became problematic.
At the latest meeting, Wilcox inquired if the parking code laws are enforced by complaint. For example, he noted a car with a flat tire sat in front of his neighbor's house for weeks. However, Wilcox didn't file a complaint because the disabled vehicle wasn't in front of his house.
Damgen responded that while the city's code enforcement policy is complaint driven, the code can be enforced if the enforcement officer stumbles upon a violation.
"In a situation in what Mr. Wilcox was describing, if somebody called it in, yes, we would respond to that," Damgen said. "If it was where we were responding to a another complaint in that general area (and they noticed another violation) that would be an opportunity to provide a warning or a citation."
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