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Boot gets the boot: City of Bend uses new ‘Barnacle’ tool to enforce unpaid parking tickets

(Updated: adding video, comments from parking enforcement officer, more information)

Device attaches by suction to windshield to immobilize scofflaws' vehicles

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The traditional parking-enforcement "boot" is getting the boot. The city of Bend has implemented a new tool to enforce parking ticket payments.

If you have several outstanding parking tickets, you might see a big yellow block stuck on your windshield. It's called the Barnacle, and replaces a typical parking "boot," attached to wheels, The idea is to immobilize a vehicle in a more user-friendly way.

The Barnacle is a self-serve device that uses suction technology to stick to a vehicle windshield. It has information to call for help, and an option to pay the citation there. Once paid, the device un-sticks and the driver can remove the tool. Then, the driver must bring the Barnacle to the Diamond Parking office to return it.

The city of Bend said it welcomes this change, in an effort to make the process easier for everyone involved.

Tobias Marx, the city's Parking Services Division manager, said Friday the Barnacle has been used in Bend since the beginning of January. Marx says the city held off on enforcing late parking citations, due to the pandemic, but recently decided the time was right to begin again.

The Barnacle is also more convenient for parking enforcement officers. Diamond Parking, the city's parking service, has two Barnacles to use at present.

"It's been great. It's a huge improvement to the old immobilization devices we used," said Matt Gibson, lead parking enforcement officer. "For one thing, it's lighter, easier to pack around -- deployment is quick,"

"And just from a customer service standpoint, it's easier for the customer to get it released," Gibson added.

Parking enforcement officers drive around, scanning license plates, where they can see which vehicles have outstanding tickets.

The Barnacle is used as a last resort to enforce parking payments. People who have several outstanding tickets for more than 60 days are subject to getting the device put on their car.

Marx tells NewsChannel 21 the city will issue a warning to drivers before putting a Barnacle on a car. So far, Diamond Parking has put Barnacles on five vehicles since it was introduced. Marx says in a typical year, a parking service would use Barnacles on 8-10 cars each month.

If you return to your car and see there's a Barnacle on your windshield, you're responsible for removing it. The device has a QR code that you scan with your cellphone, and it takes you to a website. There, you will pay your citations, a $125 release fee, and a $200 security deposit.

Once paid, you'll receive a release code to type in the Barnacles keypad and it will release suction. You can then remove the device from your car. However, once you pay and take it off, you have to return it to the Bend Parking Management Office.

There's a built-in alarm and GPS tracking, if someone tries to take it off without paying. Additionally, your vehicle is registered in the parking system as having a Barnacle, so even if you get it off, the city still knows you owe the money.

Not only is the Barnacle more convenient, but the bright yellow device also is hard to miss. Terence Spakousky, the area manager for Diamond Parking, says it creates an incentive and accountability system for other drivers.

"When we place a device on a car, not only does it affect the person who got it, but we always see other people -- co-workers, other people who drive by, come into our office to see what they can do to pay off some of their outstanding tickets," he said.

"So the visibility is actually important, and it reminds people to not only follow the rules, but if you have two outstanding tickets, you might want to catch up on those," Spakousky added.

If you get a parking ticket, you have 10 days to pay the $25 citation fee – it’s reduced to $12 if you pay within 48 hours. After 10 days, a $20 late fee is tacked on to the original citation, making the total $45.

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics
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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

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