Occasionally, I'll see ramps cut into the curb that clearly used to be for driveways, but the driveway is no longer there. Given that parking in Portland is rapidly going from scarce to nonexistent, I gotta know: Can I park there? —Slow Rider

The other day, I found myself nodding with eager approval as an exquisitely bearded barista described the $30-a-pound coffee I was about to buy as "berry forward." At this moment, it occurred to me: I'm a fucking asshole.

I was buying the coffee with a gift certificate, but still. In the waning months of liberal democracy, with 90 percent of the coral reefs dead, I stood there and demanded with a straight face that my coffee taste not only like coffee but also like blackberries, spring rain, and Becky Thatcher's first kiss.

I'm telling you all this so that when I say people who complain about parking should be shot, you'll understand I include myself in that category. The truth is, we should both be more thankful for what we have—thousands of poor children in Bangladesh go to bed each night without any place to park at all.

Anyway, I'm sure we all know what Slow here is talking about: You see a sloping ramp that probably used to go to somebody's garage, but now it runs smack into a brick wall, or a fence, or a thick hedge.

Clearly, no one can use this feature as a driveway, so it's not going to hurt anybody if you park there. Nevertheless, most people I know avoid these spaces just in case—it doesn't hurt anybody when I print my own $10 bills either, but the cops still get weird about it.

I'll end the suspense: "Once a structure is built or any other permanent closure device is put into place, [the space] is no longer a driveway, even though the driveway cut is still in place at the curb," says Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman Dylan Rivera. You can park there, assuming it's otherwise legal.

For once, it seems common sense wins out. Still, you'll notice I quoted PBOT directly, rather than just telling you the answer—if you guys manage to get tickets anyway for doing this, it's not on me.