As of Thursday, December 19, 2013
The Dalles To the editor:
I am the “neighbor” who hired an attorney as referred to in your editorial to get the portable basketball hoop removed from the street.
The hoop owners initially placed two hoops in the cul-de-sac adjacent to my property and were not responsible enough to find out if they could legally place them in the street or if I, the impacted property owner whose backyard bank was serving as a backstop, had any concerns. In April I pointed out to them in writing that the two hoops not only blocked the right-of-way but presented a danger to children from traffic, I did not want to be liable for adults or children entering onto my property, the hoops had a potential to create an attractive nuisance and I had concerns for the destructive impact on my landscape and hillside from thrown or bounced balls.
The city was prepared to issue a permit at which point I retained an attorney who notified the city it would be authorizing a trespass on my property. One basketball hoop was removed from the street and the other moved to a location adjacent to another property owner.
I do not believe portable basketball hoops belong in the street. I appealed and made a public records request for: policy and procedure(s), written criteria used as a basis for determining a permit and a copy of the safety study.
I was informed that none of these documents exist, which suggests to me that without established criteria or an objective means for processing an application, city staff can make a decision with a wink and a nod.
After the permit was issued in October the city manager suggested I present my safety concerns to the Traffic Safety Committee, an effort that probably should have been undertaken by city staff prior to issuing the permit.
I also requested an accounting of the labor hours, dollar costs and amount of any fees collected: “The City does not track labor hours on this type of activity; so any documentation would be at best a guess.” “We currently do not have a fee for issuance of encroachment permits.” This means that we, the taxpayers, subsidized the issuance of this permit.
I have been a property owner and taxpayer in this municipality for 35 years. It took this issue for me to learn the quality of government I have been paying for.