WLHS parking dispute heading to court
After a May 8 mediation session failed to generate a settlement between the City of West Linn and West Linn High School student Rory Bialostosky, a lawsuit regarding the residential parking zone around the high school will be reviewed by the Clackamas County Circuit Court.
During the week following the mediation session, West Linn City Attorney Tim Ramis filed a Motion for Summary Judgement on the case. Such a motion essentially asks for a case to be decided by a judge without a full trial.
The case dates back to January, when Bialostosky filed a "petition for declaratory judgement and injunctive relief" regarding West Linn Resolution 2017-20. That resolution was passed unanimously by the West Linn City Council at a Sept. 11, 2017 meeting and was intended to uphold the residential parking zone near the high school 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.
Bialostosky's lawsuit called for the resolution to be declared invalid and the City barred from enforcing it due to violations of the West Linn City Charter, state law and the United States Constitution.
Bialostosky said he was currently working on an answer to the City's Motion for Summary Judgement, and that he expected a hearing would take place sometime in July.
"Their defense is kind of interesting — it misses the fundamental point of my case, so I don't see them being able to get a summary judgement," he said. "I'm pretty confident I have a case."
Meanwhile, Bialostosky and another student, Andrew Brown, are in the process of filing a Prospective Petition for a Local Initiative Measure to repeal the residential parking district. If the prospective petition meets City requirements and they can gather 2,829 signatures, the initiative would be placed on the November ballot for voters to decide.
"It's time to take it out of the council's hands," Bialostosky said. "It's been a year now, and they haven't really done anything to address the problem."
The City Council disagrees with that assessment, and is focusing on working with the West Linn-Wilsonville School District to arrive at potential solutions. At a work session May 21, the council evaluated a draft of a letter to the school board that would ask a number of questions about the high school parking situation.
"It appears Rory is moving forward with his initiative and as stated by council, we are continuing to identify and provide questions to the school board to work on per their request at our joint meeting on April 16," City Councilor Rich Sakelik said. "We are hoping that the school board will move forward in good faith to answer our questions and agree to another joint meeting soon."
The council's letter will respond to a May 1 note from School Board Chair Ginger Fitch, who expressed frustration at the way the April 16 meeting played out.
"In our planning meeting with (Superintendent) Dr. (Kathy) Ludwig and City Manager Stein, we had discussed the agenda for our joint meeting and agreed to a framework for the parking discussion. Council members were to be able to make inquiries for information of the district but not to ask the board for action or to engage the board in discussion of solutions," Fitch wrote. "Unfortunately, council members did not take the opportunity to gather information from the district and instead asked for specific action by the board."
Fitch did say that if the council formally passed a written request or proposal on to the school board, she would put it on a future agenda.