A Seattle Municipal Court judge ruled May 12 against a man who claimed that the city of Seattle had violated his constitutional rights when it towed and impounded his broken-down truck. Steven Long, 57, who was experiencing homelessness, returned to a gravel lot at Rainier Avenue and Dearborn Street to find that his truck, which he was using as a residence, had been towed because he had been parked there for more than 72 hours.
Long and attorneys from Columbia Legal Services argued that the tow — which racked up hundreds of dollars in fines and deprived him of his vehicle, plumbing tools, warm clothing and food — violated the constitutional protections against excessive, punitive fines and deprivation of life, liberty or property.
They also believe that the seizure violated the state constitution, which protects property used as a residence.
Judge Karen Donahue ruled that parking enforcement had followed Seattle law and that fees associated with the tow were not considered “excessive fines.” An appeal is planned.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Read the full May 17 issue.
Homeless man fights Seattle over impound
Nightwatch gets new home
The high cost of parking while homeless
For homeless people, ID is vital and expensive