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Lacey City Hall parking lot is open for business — safe e-commerce business, that is

Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder and Police Sgt. Dave Campbell stand next to the two spaces for the e-commerce zone in the City Hall parking lot. The location offers a safer place to finalize online transactions.
Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder and Police Sgt. Dave Campbell stand next to the two spaces for the e-commerce zone in the City Hall parking lot. The location offers a safer place to finalize online transactions. sbloom@theolympian.com

If you buy and sell things online, but sometimes struggle to find a safe location where you can finalize the transaction, the city of Lacey invites you to exchange those goods in the City Hall parking lot.

The city, with input from Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder and the Lacey Police Department, has created an e-commerce zone in the lot.

Two parking spaces were marked with e-commerce zone signs Sunday night. They happen to be right in front of the Lacey Police Department building.

“This came from our youth,” said Ryder. Ryder said the idea originated with his son, Jesse, who buys items on the Internet auction site eBay. He asked his father why there wasn’t a safe place to conduct business after an online transaction.

Meanwhile, the Lacey Police Department was considering the same idea at around the same time. Their inspiration came partly from the city of Sedro-Woolley Police Department, which has a similar e-commerce zone in a parking lot.

The Internet transaction area there was created in May and there’s been overwhelming support for it, Sedro-Woolley Detective Paul Eaton said.

“It’s definitely being used,” he said.

Lacey officials announced a plan to create the special zone in June.

In addition to the two marked parking spaces, an electrical outlet has been attached to a nearby public phone so that someone who is buying electrical goods can make sure they work by plugging them in, Ryder said.

A citizen suggested the electrical outlet in a letter to the mayor after the city’s June announcement, he said.

The parking lot also has motion-activated lights and a video camera, which will be monitored by Lacey police Sgt. Dave Campbell. It is set to retain images for 90 days, although the time frame can be extended, he said.

Many Internet transactions are finalized in grocery store parking lots, but they don’t always go so well, Campbell said. He recalled one incident where a buyer inadvertently purchased some stolen electronic goods, but had little recourse after the seller left the scene. At the e-commerce zone, the video can capture license plate numbers.

Mayor Ryder was so inspired by his son’s idea that he’s now considering a youth commission or advisory board that would keep the city informed about issues important to them, he said.

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