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Portland Auto Shop Owner in Ticket Dispute

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Oct. 14, 2019—An auto repair shop operator is fighting his city government after getting tickets that he believes are unwarranted.

Al Seavy Automotive of Portland, Ore. has been getting tickets on and off for almost a decade now, for charges ranging from having a vehicle on his sidewalk when there is no sidewalk in front of his business, to accusations of having tires and weeds on his property. All of these accusations he disagrees with.

“This all started back in 2000 with the Portland code enforcement,” said Al Seavy, owner of the auto repair shop in a recent interview with the Observer. “They were claiming I was parking on their ‘imaginary sidewalk.'”

Seavy claims there is no sidewalk in front of his garage. It appears to be one driveway leading up to the garage doors from the street, not a sidewalk.

“I’ve been here since 1996 and this place has always been a garage even before that,” Seavy said, adding. “There has never been a sidewalk here. There used to be gas pumps out front where they said the sidewalk is and that was it.”

Seavy went on to say, “Those violations for parking I had to go to court for. It happens every three years at the fire inspection, so three times in nine years. … This time, the town says my driveway is a sidewalk, but when I spoke with a sheriff, he said there’s no sidewalk and I should just park my cars in front of the driveway at the close of business, since I can’t block myself in during the day.”

According to an article from the Observer from 2000, the town of Portland was seeking out “No Parking” signs in response to the issue, but none such have appeared in the area in the 20 years following. 

“Zoning insisted the last time I spoke with them in September that you can’t park along the road,” Seavy continued. 

“Look at everyone else on this road. If they don’t have a driveway, they’re parking on the side of the road. All parking in town is like that. They’re trying to shorten my garage up and down the road (at the car lot). They’re saying it’s up to the property owner to maintain the sidewalks — and they’re not even my sidewalks.”

The ongoing dispute has been going on for nearly a year, and Seavy will face a hefty fine sum should things not end in his favor. 

“I went to court again and was found guilty of three violations: a sanitation violation, removal of weeds violation and a general property maintenance violation,” Seavy stated. “Three hundred fifty dollars each and I fought them.”

Seavy has asked for a dismissal of his trial as it is moving forward and an end to the multi-year struggle with code enforcement.

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