Private and Public Policy Reviews for the Disabled

Piles of Shame

By Stephen Rex Goode, BSW

At the end of December of 2008, the Portland, Oregon area, where I live, experienced unusual amounts of snow. The whole area was buried. As a person with arthritis, back problems, and recovering from a dangerous leg wound, I wasn’t able to get around very well.

There were a lot of problems related to parking spaces reserved by state law for people with mobility issues. In Oregon, the tendency is to reverve these spaces in threes: two spaces for parking, and a space between them for the extra space that is needed for getting mobility devices out or for people like me, who can’t get out unless I can open my door all the way. These “spacer” spaces are painted with diagonal stripes and usually have an asphalt ramp up to a sidewalk.

While parking lots remained unplowed, there were a lot of people parking in these spacer spaces. They don’t have a sign in front of them, because that’s where the ramp is. At first, I thought it was that people couldn’t see the stripes, so they thought it was OK to park there. I’ve observed lately, that a lot of people park there. I don’t think it’s out of ignorance, either. The health club I use had to put up a sign telling people not to park there.


Safeway Parking Lot

The worst thing I saw was when some businesses plowed their parking lots. This created large mounds of dirty snow. Where would you think they would pile up all of that snow? I was appalled to see that many of them piled it up right on top of their disabled parking, like this picture shows. It was taken at the parking lot of a Safeway store on the corner of S.E. 162nd and Division Street in Portland, Oregon. This should not happen.

I want to commend the Walmart Store in Wood Village, Oregon. Not only did they put their piles of snow somewhere else, they also did a better job plowing their disabled parking spaces than the other spaces.

As winter continues around the country, please contact me with any pictures of piles of shame you might encounter.

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One Response to “Piles of Shame”

  1. Disability Reviews » The First to Go (Revised) said:

    […] all the time. People who don’t use or aren’t eligible to use a disabled parking space don’t really see why they are important to those of use who have trouble getting […]

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