Code Violations Examples
Abandoned vehicles parked on city streets is a problem every city contends with, and the City of Kelso is no exception. Abandoned vehicles cause blight within the city, can cause traffic issues, and can be viewed as a safety concern, as fluids frequently leak onto the street and in turn into the storm water system. Currently, no Kelso Municipal Code (KMC) addresses abandoned vehicles on public right-of-way, so the city relies on state law (Revised Code of Washington or RCW) to enforce abandoned vehicle laws. But what exactly is an abandoned vehicle? And when is it subject to impoundment?
Under RCW, the term “abandoned vehicle” is a specific term used by tow truck operators and refers to impounded vehicles left abandoned in their storage yards. What we’re really talking about, at least under RCW, is “unauthorized vehicles”. RCW 46.55.010 defines an unauthorized vehicle in the public right-of-way this way:
RCW 46.55.010 (14) a (ii) "Unauthorized vehicle" means a vehicle that is subject to impoundment after being left unattended in one of the following public or private locations for the indicated period of time:
Subject to removal after:
(ii) On a highway and tagged as described in RCW 46.55.085 . . . . 24 hours.
RCW 46.55.085 states that once a vehicle has been determined to be an unauthorized vehicle, it can be tagged by law enforcement, and, if not moved within a 24-hour period (Kelso PD traditionally has given vehicle owners 48 hours as a courtesy), be subject to impoundment. What does unattended mean? For purposes of this section, the city interprets unattended to mean a vehicle that is not being driven regularly and is essentially being stored on the city street.
On January 8, 2009 a landslide knocked 307 Burcham St, an occupied residence, off its foundation. The home was rendered uninhabitable, and various efforts by the city over the years to have the home owner abate the dangerous structure proved difficult.
A new owner took possession of the property in August 2017, and abatement efforts with this group were ultimately successful. The structure was demolished March 9, 2018.