For 11 years, Shannon Slaughter has been walking the streets of McMinnville as the county’s only parking enforcement officer. The McMinnville Police Department employee is a visible force in downtown, and is present in all types of weather conditions.
“I don’t know if you’d say my job is important, but it is a necessary job,” said Slaughter. “My duties include checking for various parking and handicap violations.”
Slaughter’s route starts at Magness Library and proceeds all the way up Main Street. She especially patrols parking around the courthouse, post office and Spring Street, saying most tickets are written for overtime parking. She writes between seven and 12 tickets a week, and they are usually on Tuesday or Thursday, which are court days.
“We have free parking in the downtown area, behind Main and between Colville Streets,” said Slaughter. “Some folks use the church parking lots.”
Her job requires lots of walking, with her estimating about five miles per day, five days a week.
“I like my job, because I enjoy being outdoors and not stuck in an office sitting every day,” said Slaughter. “The only bad part of my job is extreme weather conditions, being too hot or too cold.”
Chief of police Bryan Denton commends Slaughter for a job well done, saying she is a multi-tasker who fills in at different spots for the department.
“She has a very difficult job because people just get upset to get a ticket,” said Denton. “We used to have lots of complaints, but Shannon has learned to handle people, and understands the parking trends. Both our officers and people respect her because she is firm but fair.”
She says most people are reasonable and mostly nice to her, especially after she explains to them the violation. Many are confused there is only 30 minute parking around the courthouse, thinking it’s a full hour instead.
“They don’t fuss at me too much, but they might complain when they go to pay,” said Slaughter.
Some of the offenses she looks for are overtime parking, parking across lines, loading, prohibited or restricted zone violations, fire lane and handicap violations. The fine for a first violation is $6; second is $11: and $16 for the third.
Slaughter is also responsible for patrolling the Walmart and Three Star Mall parking lots. The businesses want the parking laws enforced, especially fire lane parking and handicap spaces.