You can do something to curb illegal parking in disabled spots

You can do something to curb illegal parking in disabled spots

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Does it make you mad to see people parking illegally in disabled parking spots?

Now you can do something about it.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office is asking for your help. They already have a volunteer parking patrol in place.

On one recent day there were plenty of cars in violation in a parking lot, sitting in disabled spots with no permit in the windshield.

That makes it harder for people like Dixie Pankratz from Hillsboro, who has severe arthritis, and her husband who is in a wheelchair.

"I'm thinking that they may be handicapped with their ethics and values and they figure the state laws do not apply to them," Pankratz says. "They feel they're above that when they see that. Or maybe they don't know how to read. I don't know."

Some people just forget to post their placard, but they can still get a ticket. Some people are trying to get away with expired cards. One driver tried to cover up the expiration date.

"There's really no excuse," says Kevin Hoover, one of the volunteers for the sheriff's office. "If it's out of date, don't use it. Don't park here. If you need to get another one, go get another one. There's not a whole lot of area in between."

Some people are pulling into the striped access aisles, which are never parking spots – not even for people with permits because it takes away space disabled people need to get in and out.

Volunteers like Hoover are special volunteers who are trained and deputized in Washington County. They can give tickets.

"People come up constantly in the parking lots to thank them for doing this type of enforcement and this type of education," says Sgt. Tim Tannenbaum with the sheriff's office.

He says any citizen can work to help stop disabled parking abuse.

"People tend to get frustrated, so it's just a way to empower them if they see something, another means they can take some action," he says.

Here's how:

  • Take a picture from the back showing that the car is parked in a disabled spot. 
  • Take a picture of the windshield showing that there is no permit posted. 
  • Take a picture of the license plate
  • Note time, date & location

Send to this email address:

The sheriff's office will send the driver a letter, encouraging them to follow the law.

"This might not work every time, but the letters are a good tool for parents whose kids (are) borrowing their cars.  And sometimes the letters do change behaviors for the better. If you know of a chronic violator for common dates and times, we will send our Disabled Parking Enforcement Volunteers to see if a citation is appropriate," according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

"These spaces are there for a purpose to help facilitate disabled people getting in and out of their cars easier – getting in and out of stores easier, and it's just common courtesy. It's the right thing to do," Tannenbaum says. "And it's the law."

If you are interested in volunteering with the Disabled Enforcement Program, click here.