What's up with the white Jeep Cherokee parked on Ninth Street between the alley and East Third Avenue? It hasn't moved
for months. With all the snow plowed around it, this thing has occupied three parking spaces, yet I've not seen a
single ticket on this vehicle. By Durango parking standards, this car should have a grocery bag full of tickets. - Buzz
By the time this column is printed, the offending SUV will be sequestered in a tow-truck's impound lot.
According to the city code, any car left in one place in a public right of way for 24 hours can be considered
But the fact of the matter is vehicles have to sit around for a little longer to be deemed abandoned. And someone has
to report it.
In checking out the situation last week, Action Line happened upon a neighbor who lived adjacent to the snowbound
That car has been there all winter. It was filled with junk and never moved," the neighbor said.
If you see a vehicle that has overstayed its welcome in the public right of way, call code enforcement at 375-4930.
Steve Barkley, code enforcement officer, said the first thing he and his staff will do is apply a yellow courtesy tag
warning the owner that their vehicle is running afoul of the law. A yellow-tag warning has a curb life of 24 hours.
After that, a conspicuous lime-green tow tag is applied. A tow tag gives vehicle owners 24 to 72 hours to move.
By the way, that's a tow tag. Not toe tag. But it might as well be a toe tag. Whether it's a trip to the morgue or to
an impound lot, the result is secured cold storage.
Guess how many Durangoans abandoned their vehicles this winter? According to Barkley, 294 cars were tagged between
He didn't actually use the term abandoned vehicles." Rather, Barkley called them piles of snow with antennas sticking
Of the 294 vehicles, 39 (or 13 percent) were towed away, he said.
You might think otherwise, but the city isn't heartless or cruel. If a tagged vehicle is owned by a senior citizen or
someone with physical challenges, La Plata Youth Services is summoned to help dig out the car, Barkley said.
But what slays Barkley is able-bodied Durangoans who are too slothful to shovel out their snowbound cars.
It blows me away when police officers run the plates, knock on the door and inform an owner that his or her car will
be towed. Some people have actually shrugged their shoulders and said it's easier to pay for the tow than to dig out
their car," he said.
So much for Durango's reputation as an active, rugged mountain town filled with gung-ho outdoor athletes.
How come Durango High School manages to plow the tracks and tennis courts yet can't manage to remove snow from its flat
roofs during a heavy snow winter? - J. Roderick
Good question. But there's an equally good answer.
It was my understanding, in talking with the high school athletic director, that he had volunteers" for snow removal,said Laine Gibson, School District 9-R's chief financial officer.
He assured me that no 9-R employees were used to clear away snow from athletic facilities, and no district money was
spent doing it," he said.
So that's good news.
But what a pity the energy of sports teams isn't harnessed for facilities.
Hey, maybe DHS could combine athletics with building maintenance.
Next time the town gets walloped by a blizzard, let's have sports teams and their boosters head to the roofs for
vigorous outdoor workouts with large shovels. The Demon mascot could carry an ice pick instead of a pitchfork.
Snow shoveling builds character and core fitness, along with burly shoulders and strong backs, as any winter-weary
Durangoan will tell you.
Except for the 39 local car owners who let a tow truck do the heavy lifting.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave.,Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you remember that March typically is the snowiest month.