Oregon May Cap ‘Patrol’ Towing
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Law Would Also Require Consumer Protection Plan
SALEM l State law in Oregon may soon require cities and towns to set specific rate caps for all ‘patrol towing,’ more commonly viewed as predatory towing.
Patrol towing would also require a separate license, if passed, along with consumer grievance options at the local level.
On Friday, just as lawmakers were gearing up to consider House Bill 3159, a counter proposal was floated by towing firms. The late submission frustrated Rep. Chip Shields, who chaired the committee overseeing the matter and authored the bill.
“I do want to express my frustration,” Shields said, “that they’ll be proposing (an amendment) that’s literally come in the last couple of hours. This bill has been in my possession since May 6.”
Shield’s legislation would only effect communities with a population of more the 15,000. It would require local leaders to cap patrol towing and subsequent storage rates.
Gary Coe spoke out in opposition of the changes. He operates a towing firm out of Portland.
“I respectfully request that you take this bill and throw it in the garbage can where it belongs,” he testified Friday.
The industry has also voiced concerns that local councilmen or town boards would be able to set rates so low as to render them profitless. The proposed legislation sets no guidelines or minimum standards.
Supporters say these communities already set current rates for standard towing, and currently negotiate for police towing without encountering a problem.
If passed, local government would also be required to establish a response system for consumer complaints.
According to the Statesman Journal, 374 towing complaints were received at the state Department of Justice in the past five years.
Some communities in the state, including Portland and Gresham, already regulate so-called patrol towing with rates caps and licensing.