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AMR told to stop parking ambulances at West Seattle store

A grocery store parking lot is now off-limits to ambulances because the owner said the rigs take up spaces needed by his customers. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - A grocery store parking lot is now off-limits to ambulances because the owner said the rigs take up spaces needed by his customers.

Paul Kapioski, who owns Thriftway in West Seattle, said he got fed up seeing AMR ambulances taking up two or three stalls for hours at a time while his customers circled looking for an open space.

The store has 120 parking spots for customers, though there are times when almost all are taken.

“I have noticed when I come, a lot of times there are a lot of cars and it is not one of the easier places to get in and out of,” said Mindy Gross, who regularly shops at the store.

Kapioski said about two years ago, AMR started using his lot to stage medical units. However, the company never asked his permission. The store owner said he asked the for-profit company to stop running its operations by piggybacking on his business and finally decided to bill them for past parking fees.

“Common courtesy of asking probably would have been a whole different attitude,” said Cliff Valentine, another shopper.

On background, an AMR spokesperson said the company needs to keep an ambulance in the area because of high call volumes. However, the company said the change as requested should have zero impact on operations.

Kapioski clarified that AMR employees are welcome to shop at his store, but parking in his lot for hours on end has got to stop.


The Seattle Fire Department contracts with AMR to handle some calls. A spokesperson said it is critical for them to position ambulances in strategic spots.

Unlike AMR, the fire department keeps its ambulances at fire stations, not on private property.

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