Wheels of justice



In the pile of another day’s delivery of junk mail, one letter-sized envelope stood out like a precious gem. Through the panes, I could see a document with the official Oregon state seal and it was addressed to yours truly.

Could it be? Yes, it was.

More than a year after receiving a $60 parking ticket, I’d finally — finally! — gotten a response to the letter of explanation I wrote to the authorities.

Hallelujah! It was an overpayment refund of $20.

Now, I realize that’s not a lot of money. But I felt obligated to challenge the citation and vindicated when I saw justice had been served, although it took  WAY longer than it should have, in my humble opinion.

Here’s the deal:

I was cited one afternoon in late February 2014 for “No Meter Receipt” — that is, no proof of payment that I’d bought time on one of the city’s parking meters downtown. It had rained hard that day and I remember having trouble inserting the receipt between the driver’s side window and the rubber strip on the door of my ’67 VW Beetle. There was considerable condensation and the receipt quickly became wet and limp.

When I returned to my car and saw I’d received a ticket, I opened the door and immediately saw that the receipt had dried out and fallen to the floor, between the driver’s seat and the door – an admittedly narrow space where it wouldn’t have been visible to the parking enforcement officer.

I wrote to explain what happened and, being an honest guy, pointed out that I’d actually been a little late getting back to my car. The two hours of parking time I’d bought had expired about 15 minutes earlier. So, although I had overstayed my time, I DID have a receipt and I enclosed a copy as proof.

I’ll cash the check this week with a feeling of satisfaction. This little episode goes to show that you can fight city hall (well, the parking patrol, anyway) if you jump on the issue and make your case. But it also demonstrates how slowly the wheels of justice turn. Almost imperceptibly.

Next time, I’ll ask them to pay me interest on the refund. No, better yet, I’ll avoid the ticket in the first place.

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