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Strictness of parking, towing policy at Springs Rescue Mission questioned

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The availability of limited parking for employees and residents at the Springs Rescue Mission requires a strict towing policy, but two women say the policy is too strict.

The women say they received notices on their vehicles Monday, warning that they would be towed in two days unless they have proper license plates and tags.

One woman, a resident at the shelter, says she had a temporary tag on her vehicle that blew away, and is now now waiting for her permanent plates to be mailed to her. But she worries her vehicle will be towed before then.

Another resident, Dorian McGowan, says she parks her van at the shelter during the day and moves it to a nearby tire shop parking lot at night.

McGowan says she's waiting for her plates to arrive, as well, but the process likely will take more than two days because of slower service due to the COVID-19 pandemic at Department of Motor Vehicles offices.

"I was told three to four weeks," she says. "The shelter is supposed to notify us before they put a (warning) tag on a vehicle, but they didn't. We found out from someone else. The same thing happened to my fiance'."

"I had the same issue when I moved here," says Brandon Clark, a third SRM resident who has a vehicle parked on the premises. "Fortunately, I had the money at the time to take care of everything. But many people who live here, don't have the means to take care of it. The (SRM) requires vehicle owners to have a permit to park here. That should be enough."

McGowan says towing costs can be nearly $300.

As of Wednesday evening, the vehicles hadn't been towed.

SRM spokesman Travis Williams says officials are talking with the two affected vehicle owners in hopes of avoiding tows.

"We're staying in touch with them, asking them what their situation is and how long it will take them to get the necessary identification," he said. "Most of our residents don't have vehicles, but many of those who do are driven illegally. in disrepair or don't have proper identification. With hundreds of people in and out every day and needing help, we want to keep the place safe and clean."

The Mission averages more than 300 residents during summer, and construction for an expansion project has further reduced parking. Las Vegas Street in front of the shelter is a no-parking zone.

"When we finish with that project, there won't be a parking lot," Williams says. "It will become a courtyard. We still haven't figured out how to address parking after that."

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.



  1. The city rarely tows anything, even after they have 72-hour tagged the vehicle.

    The last response I received when I called CSPD to have them come to tag a vehicle, I was advised by the dispatcher that they won’t even send out an officer, code enforcement, or one of their community service officers. When asked why, I was told that the City did not have enough room in their impound lot to bring in new cars, and they can’t seem to fine another location to tow these vehicles to at that time. That was over 3-4 years ago and nothing has changed for the better.

    Nowadays you can drive down most main roads and see at least 1 car parked on the shoulder, tagged with a 72-hour tag, that has been there for several weeks. The city knows this problem exists but has done nothing to alleviate the root problem of not having enough space and purchasing and managing a larger impound lot. This has gone on for several years now and most likely will continue to deteriorate as it time goes on and is continued to be ignored by the city.

    It is interesting though, driving through the Broadmoor and other, upper class neighborhoods, they seem to never have any of these problems the rest of the city has shown. Must be a different impound lot that always has room for when the wealthy call to have Law Enforcement do their job.

    Clarification, I am discussing parking / abandoned vehicles where LEO’s are required to respond to respond, on public property.

    Private property is a whole different ball of wax between the private property owner and the private hired towing company, and the registered owner of the vehicle.

    1. “…driving through the Broadmoor and other, upper class neighborhoods, they seem to never have any of these problems the rest of the city has shown…”

      That is because they register and insure their vehicles like goo law abiding citizens. Driving/having a car is not a right it is a privilege. I don’t want someone out there diving without a license and insurance. Then if they hit me my insurance has to take care of it and I end up potentially paying higher rates because someone else could not be responsible.

      1. Viral… Where is the Picard facepalm meme when I need it.

        Clearly, no one breaks down in the Broadmoor area and other upper class areas… Clearly, no homeless camp their vehicles on the streets in these wealthy communities, like the rest of the city…

        “I don’t want someone out there diving without a license and insurance. Then if they hit me my insurance has to take care of it and I end up potentially paying higher rates because someone else could not be responsible.”

        No, you are not correct again. Regardless of if they have insurance or not, you will be covered, as long as you have valid insurance at the time of the accident. The only reason it would impact your rates for your next bill cycle is two reasons.

        #1 – You were at fault, you had to pay.
        #2 – Anytime you have to file a claim, the insurance company will attempt to have it negatively impact your next 6 month – 1 year cycle. You can contact your insurance company to attempt to negotiate with them, if you were found “not at fault”. They may work with you, though most likely they will not. But this is a insurance company issue, not the issue of the other uninsured motorist. The uninsured motorist will be sued by your insurance company, but your insurance will cover you up to your premium.

        I can go on, but there is too much to discuss, all I can say is do some homework and you will find out why you are inaccurate.

        Having a valid Driver License is a privilege, not a right. You were almost correct. But do you know why? I do, you should look it up and do the research on this too. Perhaps it will help you create better, more accurate posts the next time. It would definitely make you sound more educated about the subject the next time.

        1. Thank you for supporting my points. On the insurance this is why you have to have uninsured motorist coverage. You still have to pay your deductible on the claim. So you are out money one way or the other. Many insurance companies no matter the fault will still see it as a claim against the policy. Many time they won’t try to sue the person who hit you because there is no many to get as they couldn’t even afford … of their own.
          Just like many people who got hail damage of no fault of their own had to pay higher rates or had their coverage cancelled because of the liability. If we don’t enforce insurance and registration laws there is a higher risk for all drivers who are insured. So higher risk higher premium and deductibles. It’s how insurance companies make money, they don’t do it because they are nice people.

    2. So they are putting in a courtyard and saying screw parking altogether? Let’s flood the streets with even more cars just to bust the neighbors cookies? Sounds selfish to me. To heck with the courtyard! Add beds!

  2. I’ve had the experience where my temporary tag expired and my permanent tag had not shown up yet. you know what you’re supposed to do you go back to the DMV to pay $5 and they give you another temporary tag until you permanent one shows up. Problem solved. then she’s going to say she doesn’t have $5 but I bet you she smokes cigarettes and she has $5 for them.

    Think of this is the first step to ending your homelessness. Having a home and a car requires a lot of work and it requires you to make the right choices almost all the time.

    Otherwise you end up living in a van down by the river.

  3. It boils down to this, Springs Rescue Mission is the private property owner, therefore they make the rules. (can be governed by additional stipulations of insurance provider in order to carry insurance coverage) As Per the El Paso County Assessor’s website, Springs Rescue Mission are listed as the owner. On Private property, the owner is at their sole discretion to make and advise all parties entering onto their property what those sets of rules are currently. The liability of having abandoned untagged and vehicles without proper plates on their private property causes their exposure to insurance claims to increase.

    Ultimately, anyone wanting to park on their property is subject to their rules, not someone else’s rules, unless there is a city ordinance that I am unaware of currently. The buck stops with Springs Rescue Mission, they don’t like their decision, they can change it. This almost sounds like more of an internal debate between a supervisory board versus the personnel that actually work in the building and assist the homeless. I could be wrong, but i would have assumed that Springs REscue Mission would have already known all of this mission as I am sure they have contacted CSPD about this before and attempted to have them take possession of the vehicle, because every private property owner does not want to absorb the cost of having to enforce the actual tow.

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