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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why are tenants and visitors to Hacienda CDC's Cully Neighborhood Apartments in NE Portland so Parking-Stupid?

155 vehicles towed from these apartments in 2006 alone.
Directly across the street from here, in the notorious Town Plaza stripclubs, only 3 tows in the same period of time.
Despite the distraction of naked women, alcohol and whatever else goes on in those seedy dens of iniquity, people who park on the north side of NE Killingsworth score perfect 10s with every parking experience.
Yet, upon turning into Hacienda's properties on the south side of Killingsworth, people cannot figure out how to park successfully in front of their own homes.
Time after time, they need to be towed at their own expense, and they still don't learn.
There is enough red paint in Hacienda's parking lots, marking fire lanes and other prohibited areas, that you would think it would be visible from space.
It almost looks festive, like the circus is coming to town, except the tickets are reeeeeaaallly expensive.
In fact, if there ever is a contest in the City for the apartment site with the greatest investment in red paint, parking lot stripes, lettering painted on the asphalt and signage, this is where my money will be, oh yeah.
But I digress....
The issue is parking-stupidity, which leads to instant towability, which results in the transfer of hard-earned cash, which no one paying these bills can be happy about, and yet they cannot figure how to park once they enter Hacienda's lots.
I forgot to count how many legal parking spots for residents there are over there, when I was making my debut as a photojournalist on self-assignment.
I'll have to go back, count the legal slots, compare to the number of apartments, see what those numbers look like.
155 tows in 2006 alone. And they are still getting towed out of there, day after day. Why won't these people learn?
There could be a mysterious force field, undetectable, affects some people more than others maybe, makes them parking-stupid.
Or it could be a case of mass amnesia, somehow connected to Hacienda's properties (because it isn't happening like this anywhere else in the Cully neighborhood), that causes people to forget that their friend or their sister or their neighbor just had to shell out another $ 300 to get their own car back yesterday, and they can't remember that for the life of them and the next thing you know they're parking-stupid again themselves and four minutes later Sergeant's or Retriever's snagged their car and its on its way to the other side of town at five bucks a mile plus more other charges piled on then you get from a week's stay in the hospital.
And still they will not learn.
So Hacienda and Retriever and Sergeant's will continue to try to teach them the hard way. I wonder if they are betting 2007 will be over or under 155? I wonder who the King of Cully Towers is over there at Retriever?
Talk about a plum assignment for a tow truck driver working on commission, you can imagine the lucky driver saying "Sweet!" aloud every time he gets a shot at the Hacienda account.
"Yeah, baby! We're goin' to Baja again!"
The poor guy assigned to the strip clubs must have had to take a second job or starve to death.
Did you notice the disabled sign lying on its side in one of the pictures? I did, too. I've never seen one lying on its side like that before. Usually, they're bolted into the ground so people can read what the sign says without turning their heads sideways. Had to get a picture of that, might not ever see one lying on its side like that again.
And I loved the "We Care About Your Safety" sign, that says "NO skateboarding, bicycle riding, roller skating, roller blading, scooter riding." Had to shoot that, too.
What's there left for the kids to do? Join a gang? Somebody sure is. That's what the graffiti is all about.
If they want to do something about the gang breeding ground over there, you'd think they'd let the kids do what kids like to do--ride their bikes, their skateboards, their skates and blades--encourage that even, but Hacienda won't even let them ride their scooters.
No scooters?
How can a word that funny, as inherently funny as scooter, be a nuisance?
Gotta keep that asphalt clear.
Tow trucks need a little extra room to maneuver in those cramped, tiny Hacienda parking lots, and there is no greater nuisance to a man in the act of taking a car without the owner's permission than a bunch of kids, particularly poor, immigrant kids.
Well, next time I'm in the neighborhood I'm going to count parking spaces.
The parking-stupidity zone may be due to a mysterious force field, or it could be mass amnesia, but it would be smart to check the availability of actual parking in the properties and in the immediate neighborhood.
155 tows in 2006
Who wants to bet on the 2007 number?


ravenwings said...

Thanks for the warning, Sean. Will stay away from Hacienda- like names!
Is there a place I wonder, where people can go online to see/ post on an ongoing (no doubt growing) list of places where towing is a problem?????
And a list of landlords/ managers who subscribe to towing predation?

sean cruz said...


Thanks for writing. GREAT question. We are working on making the towing data available to the public on line. From purely a public safety point of view, you would want to know where the danger of getting your car towed is greatest.

You can help by contacting your State Senator and Representative, mayor, and City and County Commissioners asking that the data be made available.

All of the legislative contact info is available at

Also email

and encourage others to do the same.