Out-of-state vehicles could get the "boot" soon in Medford as local officials put the squeeze on parking ticket scofflaws.
The Medford City Council will consider an ordinance today that will allow parking enforcement officers to attach wheel clamps to vehicles licensed in other states that have three or more citations associated with them.
"We haven't been able to boot out-of-state license plates before," said Lynette O'Neal, assistant to the city manager.
Previously, the city code required a mailed notice be sent to the registered owner of a vehicle. Under the new code, parking enforcement can issue the notice by placing it on the window of any vehicle that has three or more citations. For local residents, however, the notice will continue to be mailed if the city has the vehicle owner's address. The notices placed on the window also will help the city deal with motorists who don't register their vehicles right away.
If the citations haven't been paid within 10 days of the notice, the city can put a boot — a $450 PitBull tirelock — on the vehicle the next time it's spotted in town.
To have the boot removed, the motorist will have to pay a $150 fee from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday as well as make arrangements to pay off the citations. For evenings, weekends and holidays, the base fee climbs to $250.
O'Neal said Medford has many visitors from out-of-state, particularly California.
In some cases, parking ticket violators have amassed fines of $1,000 or more, which sometimes requires a payment plan to be set up with the city.
The boot is a measure of last resort, O'Neal said. Usually, just the threat of putting the boot on a vehicle is enough for parking violators to head to the city to pay their outstanding fines, she noted.
In years past, the city has used the boot up to a couple of times a month, but Diamond Parking Service, which took over parking enforcement in January, has used it only once.
Terence Spakousky, facility manager for Diamond, said he's anticipating using the bright yellow clamp more often, probably about once or twice a month.
The boot adjusts to fit different wheel sizes, clamping the inside and outside like huge calipers. A lock is placed inside a hole that keeps the boot securely in place.
If a motorist tried to drive away with the boot on, it would cause serious damage to the vehicle.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.