Employee Spotlight – Jennifer Kendall
Many who’ve met Jennifer Kendall regard her as the nicest parking enforcement officer they’ve come across. This quality comes from a combination of her ideas on parking compliance, her willingness to talk and her friendly demeanor.
For Kendall, the goal of the parking enforcement officer is compliance—not writing as many tickets as possible but enforcing parking code. “I understand people get frustrated when their vehicle is ticketed. Gaining compliance can also include having a conversation to educate people about why they’re parked illegally or why they feel they don’t deserve a citation,” she said.
The downtown area now has many ways to pay for metered parking. Pay Stations take coin or credit cards, and there are three parking apps customers can use to pay for parking remotely. Apps, though they come with a processing fee, offer convenient services such as text or in-app reminders before a parking session expires, and customers can extend time if they’re held up in a nearby store, restaurant, or office. Once a fee is paid at the pay station or with an app, a vehicle can move around to other paid parking spots in the area. Everything’s trackable by license plate and Kendall can check a vehicle’s parking history.
The City’s parking enforcement officer spends a majority of time enforcing parking in the downtown area, where parking management is needed most, but also enforces parking laws all over the City. Common violations outside of downtown are vehicles parked against the traffic flow; in no parking or restricted areas; or with expired registration now that the moratorium for expired tags has ended.
Kendall recommends people who want to lodge a complaint about a parked car call the non-emergency dispatch line (541-386-2711) or the City’s non-emergency police line (541-386-2121). The City’s police line (541-386-1488) can connect to Jennifer’s cell phone if she’s on duty to assist customers when meters, Pay Stations, or parking apps are malfunctioning. Kendall explained that customers who receive a ticket and would like to dispute it should follow the process listed on the parking ticket.
Jennifer, who was raised locally and whose family has been in the Hood River area since the 1930s, graduated from Hood River Valley High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Psychology. Before joining the City of Hood River, she was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for Hood River County for nearly eight years. Jennifer also worked many years in the hospitality industry, and her father has owned the archery business in Hood River for 40 years. These factors give Kendall a gentler customer service perspective. “I realize a lot of businesses depend on downtown customer parking, and that winter season brings its own challenges.”
Kendall started her job April, 2020, in the early days of the pandemic when parking was enforced the first few months while Saturdays remained busy. Then, for a period she saw the same 10-15 cars parked in the same spots downtown almost daily. So, during these slower periods, she painted the inside of the police station. Normalcy more-or-less resumed in 2021
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