This section describes when a vehicle may or will be towed for parking violation(s), the manner of the towing, storage of the vehicle, and the release or disposition of the vehicle.
16.30.100 Authority to Tow Vehicles and Establish Hearing Procedures.
(Amendedby Ordinance Nos. 170923, 187925 and 188652, effective November 17, 2017.)
A. Any parking enforcement officer, police officer, Portland Streetcar Supervisor or Superintendent, or other officer authorized by the City Council or by City Code may order a vehicle towed as provided in this Title.
1. Impoundment of a vehicle does not preclude issuance of a citation for violation of this Title.
2. Stolen vehicles may be towed from public or private property and stored at the expense of the vehicle owner.
B. The authority to establish procedures in this Title for the disposition of towed vehicles is authorized by Oregon law. Disposition of vehicles towed under authority of this Title must follow the procedures established by this Title.
C. If any person tows a vehicle from the public streets without authority under the City Code, the City Towing Coordinator may assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each vehicle towed to be paid to the City Towing Coordinator and deposited to the City’s general fund.
16.30.210 When a Vehicle May be Towed.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 172788, 179141, 187261 and 189789, effective January 10, 2020.) A vehicle may be towed and held at the expense of the owner or person entitled to possession thereof from:
A. Any public right-of-way, city owned or operated property, parking lot, public park or other public place or property, when:
1. The vehicle is parked in violation of a temporary or permanent parking restriction;
2. The vehicle is parked unlawfully or in a manner that may be hazardous to traffic;
3. The vehicle is parked on City‑owned or operated property without express City permission;
4. The vehicle was used in committing a traffic or parking violation for which an unserved warrant or citation is on file with the clerk of the Circuit court;
5. The vehicle has been reported stolen;
6. The vehicle or its contents is to be used as evidence in traffic or criminal prosecutions;
7. The vehicle is in possession of a person taken into custody by a law enforcement agency;
8. The vehicle is parked in a space that is marked as reserved for disabled persons unless such vehicle conspicuously displays appropriate decals, insignia, or registration plates as required by state statutes;
9. The vehicle is parked in violation of any parking regulation;
10. The vehicle is an abandoned vehicle, as defined in 16.90.005; or
11. The vehicle is stored on the street in violation of 16.20.170.
B. Permanent parking restrictions may be enforced by tow 24 hours after placement in any meter or non meter areas.
C. Private property if:
1. The vehicle is parked or stopped without the permission of the person in control of such property; or
2. In violation of this Title.
D. Temporary parking restrictions may be enforced by tow 24 hours after placement in any non meter area.
E. Temporary parking restrictions may be enforced by tow in any meter district if the space reservation device or signs are in place, and verified,
1. By 12:30 p.m. the prior day if the meters are in effect until 6 p.m. within the meter district. Towing may continue each day for the duration of the temporary parking restrictions days and times, and no additional verification is required; or,
2. By 1:30 p.m. the prior day if the meters are in effect until 7 p.m. or later within the meter district. Towing may continue each day for the duration of the temporary parking restrictions days and times, and no additional verification is required.
16.30.220 Towing Without Prior Notice.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 165980, 170912, 176352, and 176442, effective May 1, 2002.) Any authorized officer may, without prior notice, order a vehicle towed, when:
A. The vehicle is impeding or likely to impede the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
B. The vehicle is illegally parked in a conspicuously posted restricted space, zone, or traffic lane where parking is limited to designated classes of vehicles or is prohibited in excess of a designated time period, or during certain hours, or on designated days, or at any time and place the vehicle is interfering or reasonably likely to interfere with the intended use of such a space, zone, or traffic lane;
C. The vehicle is parked in front of a rural-type mailbox and has been cited within the previous 30 days for violation of Section 16.20.130 E;
D. The vehicle poses an immediate danger to the public safety;
E. The vehicle is illegally parked within 10 feet of a fire hydrant.
F. A police officer reasonably believes that the vehicle is stolen;
G. A police officer reasonably believes that the vehicle or its contents constitute evidence of any offense, if such towing is reasonably necessary to obtain or preserve such evidence;
H. The vehicle was in possession of a person taken into custody by a law enforcement officer and no other reasonable disposition of the vehicle is available;
I. The vehicle is parked or stopped in violation of 16.20.120 A and the vehicle alarm system disturbs, injures, or endangers, or is likely to disturb, injure, or endanger, the peace, quiet, comfort, repose, health, or safety of the public or any person; or
J. The vehicle is in the possession of a person arrested for any felony traffic offense, as defined by Oregon Revised Statutes.
K. A police officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle’s operator has committed any of the following offenses:
1. Driving uninsured (ORS 806.010);
2. Driving while suspended or revoked (ORS 811.175 or ORS 811.182);
3. Operating a vehicle without driving privileges or in violation of license restrictions (ORS 807.010) and the operator’s license has been expired for 60 days or more, or that the operator has not had a valid driver’s license within the previous 60 days.
4. Driving while under the influence of intoxicants (ORS 813.010);
5. Fleeing or attempt to elude police officer (ORS 811.540);
6. Speed racing on highway (ORS 811.125); or
7. Reckless driving (ORS 811.140).
L. A police officer has probably cause to believe that the vehicle has been used or is possessed for the purpose of being used to commit or conceal the commission of one or more of these offenses:
1. Prostitution (ORS 167.007), Promoting prostitution (ORS 167.012), or Compelling prostitution (ORS 167.017) or any attempt, solicitation or conspiracy of one of these offenses; or
2. Unlawful delivery of imitation controlled substance (ORS 475.991), Unlawful possession, delivery, or manufacture of controlled substance (OR 472.992), Unlawful distribution of controlled substance to minors (ORS 475.995), Unlawful manufacture or delivery of controlled substance within 1,000 feet of school (ORS 475.999), or any attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy of one of these offenses.
16.30.225 Towing with 24 Hour or 72 Hour Notice.
(Added by Ordinance No. 166947; amended by Ordinance Nos. 170923, 172788 and 179141, effective March 23, 2005.)
A. A vehicle may be towed 24 hours after notice of intent to tow has been affixed to or placed on the vehicle if the vehicle is an abandoned vehicle which is an immediate threat to the public health or safety because of its condition.
B. A vehicle may be towed 72 hours after notice of intent to tow has been affixed to or placed on the vehicle if the vehicle is an abandoned vehicle; or
C. A vehicle may be towed 72 hours after notice of intent to tow has been affixed to or placed on the vehicle if the vehicle is in violation of 16.20.120 H or I or 16.20.170.
D. Notice shall be mailed after tow as provided in 16.30.320.
16.30.230 When Notice Required Before Towing.
(Repealed by Ordinance No. 172788, effective November 13, 1998.)
16.30.240 Towing and Immobilization upon Order of Circuit Court.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 173369 and 187925, effective September 2, 2016.)
A. Vehicles that have been used in the commission of a traffic or parking violation, for which an unserved warrant or citation is on file with the Multnomah County Circuit Court, may be immobilized and towed upon order of the court.
B. For the purposes of this Section, “immobilized” means the application of a device commonly known as a “boot”, which clamps and locks on to the wheel and impedes vehicle movement.
C. Any officer authorized by the City Council or by City Code to order a vehicle tow is authorized to immobilize a vehicle or order a vehicle immobilized as provided in this Section.
16.30.310 Notice Prior to Tow.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 172788, effective November 13, 1998.)
A. Except where shorter notice is allowed by this title, notice for vehicles which require prior notice before towing must be provided by:
1. Affixing a tow warning to the vehicle at least 10 days prior to the tow; and
2. Mailing a notice to the registered owner(s) and any other persons who reasonably appear to have an interest in the vehicle within 48 hours, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded, after the tow warning is affixed to the vehicle.
B. The tow warning and the mailed notice will state that:
1. The vehicle is parked in violation of City Code;
2. The City intends to tow and remove the vehicle if the violation is not corrected; and
3. A hearing is available to contest the validity of the intended tow, and the method of requesting a hearing, including the date by which a hearing may be requested.
C. If a timely request for hearing is received pursuant to Subsection 16.30.400, the vehicle will not be towed until the Tow Hearings Officer makes a determination.
16.30.320 Notice After Vehicle Tow.
A. After a vehicle has been towed pursuant to this Chapter, notice will be provided to the registered owner(s) and any other person(s) who reasonably appear to have an interest in the vehicle. Notice will be mailed to such persons within 48 hours after the tow of the vehicle, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded, and will state:
1. That the vehicle has been towed;
2. The location of the vehicle and that it may be reclaimed only upon evidence that the claimant is the owner or person entitled to possession;
3. The address and telephone number of the person or facility that may be contacted for information on the charges that must be paid before the vehicle will be released and the procedures for obtaining the release of the vehicle;
4. That the vehicle and its contents are subject to a lien for the towing and storage charges; that if the vehicle is not claimed within 15 days after the mailing date of the notice, the vehicle and its contents will be subject to sale by the City or the towing and storage facility where the vehicle is located and that failure to reclaim the vehicle within such time will constitute a waiver of all interest in the vehicle; and
5. Unless notice of the availability of a hearing to contest the tow has been provided prior to towing as prescribed in Section 16.30.310, the notice will state that a hearing may be requested to contest the validity of the tow and will set forth the time in which a hearing must be requested and the method of requesting a hearing.
B. If a vehicle has been reclaimed prior to the mailing of the notice, no notice need be mailed or provided, but the person or persons reclaiming the vehicle must be provided with written notice of the opportunity for a hearing to contest the tow pursuant to Section 16.30.350.
C. In those circumstances in which it can reasonably be anticipated that mailing of notice may hinder or prevent the apprehension of a suspect in an ongoing criminal investigation, the mailing of notice may be delayed until such time as will not prejudice that investigation or apprehension.
16.30.340 Unidentifiable Vehicle.
No notice need be mailed pursuant to Subsections 16.30.310 or 16.30.320 when:
A. A vehicle does not display license plates or other identifying markings by which the registration or ownership of the vehicle can be determined, or;
B. When the identity of the owner of the vehicle is not available from the appropriate motor vehicle licensing and registration authority and when the identity and address of the owner and/or other persons with an interest in the vehicle cannot otherwise be reasonably determined.
16.30.350 Notice to Contest Tow When Vehicle Claimed.
Written notice of the opportunity to contest the validity of the tow of a vehicle, together with a statement of the time in which a hearing may be requested and the method of requesting a hearing, must be given to each person who seeks to redeem a vehicle which has been towed pursuant to this Chapter. This information will be made available by the tow company or other facility holding such vehicle.
16.30.410 Request for Hearing.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 170923, effective March 21, 1997.)
A. After a vehicle has been towed pursuant to subsection 16.30.220 or 16.30.225 and prior to towing pursuant to subsection 16.30.230, the owner(s) and any other persons who reasonably appear to have an interest in the vehicle are, upon timely application filed with the Tow Hearings Officer, entitled to request a hearing to contest the validity of the tow or intended tow of the vehicle.
1. In the case of a vehicle towed pursuant to Subsection 16.30.220 or 16.30.225, such application must be filed with and received by the Tow Hearings Officer not later than 10 days after the vehicle was towed.
2. In the case of a vehicle proposed to be towed pursuant to Subsection 16.30.230, such application must be filed with and received by the Tow Hearings Officer not later than 10 days after the affixing of the tow warning to the vehicle.
B. The Tow Hearings Officer may, for good cause shown, grant a request for hearing filed after the foregoing time requirements have expired. If the mailing of the towed vehicle notice was delayed pursuant to Subsection 16.30.310, the Tow Hearings Officer will grant a request for hearing received and filed within 10 days of the mailing date of the notice or 10 days of the date the vehicle was reclaimed, whichever first occurs.
C. The request for hearing must be in writing and will state the grounds upon which the person requesting the hearing believes the tow or proposed tow invalid, or, for any other reason, unjustified. The request for hearing will also contain such other information, relating to the purposes of this Chapter, as the Tow Hearings Officer may require.
D. The Tow Hearings Officer will set and conduct an administrative hearing on the matter within 14 days of receipt of a proper request filed pursuant to this Section. In all cases where a vehicle has been towed and not yet released, however, the Tow Hearings Officer will set and conduct the hearing within 72 hours, not including Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays, on receipt of the request.
16.30.420 Hearing Procedure.
A. The hearing shall afford a reasonable opportunity for the person(s) requesting it to demonstrate by the statements of witnesses and other evidence, that the tow and/or storage of the vehicle was or would be invalid, or for any other reason not justified.
B. The Tow Hearings Officer will make necessary rules and regulations regarding the conduct of such hearings, consistent with this Section.
16.30.430 When Tow Found Invalid.
If the Tow Hearings Officer finds the tow and/or storage was or would be invalid or not justified, the Tow Hearings Officer will order the vehicle:
A. Be immediately released if already towed. The owner(s) or any other person(s) who have an interest in the vehicle are not liable for the tow and/or storage charges and any money paid for tow and/or storage charges will be returned, as appropriate.
B. Not be towed if such vehicle is about to be towed.
16.30.440 When Tow Found Valid.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 176352, effective March 27, 2002.) If the Tow Hearings Officer finds the towing and/or storage was or would be valid, the Tow Hearings Officer will order the vehicle, if still held, continue to be held until all towing and storage charges and an administrative fee are paid.
If such vehicle is about to be towed, pursuant to Subsection 16.30.230, the Tow Hearings Officer will order such vehicle to be towed and impounded if the violation involving that vehicle has not been completely corrected.
16.30.450 Hearing Administration.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 187925, effective September 2, 2016.)
A. The decision of the Tow Hearings Officer is a quasi‑judicial decision and is final, and is not appealable to the City Council.
B. Any person who has a hearing scheduled pursuant to this Section and fails to appear at such hearing without good cause shown, as determined by the Tow Hearings Officer, will not be entitled to have such hearing rescheduled.
C. The owner(s) and any other person(s) who have an interest in the vehicle are only entitled to one hearing for each tow of that vehicle.
D. Owners of vehicles towed or immobilized by order of the Multnomah County Circuit Court pursuant to Section 16.30.240 are not entitled to a hearing pursuant to this Chapter.
E. The Code Hearings Officer, appointed pursuant to Title 22, will act as Tow Hearings Officer pursuant to this Chapter. Subject to the approval of the Commissioner In Charge, the Code Hearings Officer may, in writing, designate one or more persons to act as Tow Hearings Officer during the absence or unavailability of the Code Hearings Officer.
16.30.510 Towing and Storage Rates.
The towing and storage charges that are to be paid before release of a vehicle towed by authority of this Chapter, if towed by a private company at the request of a City officer or employee, will be the charges fixed by City contract for private towing and storage. If a vehicle is towed by City equipment and personnel, the charges will be fixed by a schedule approved by the Council.
16.30.520 Charges and Release of Vehicle.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 165980, 167222, 175648 and 176352, effective March 27, 2002.)
A. Any private company that tows and stores any vehicle pursuant to this Chapter, shall have a lien on the vehicle, in accordance with ORS 87.152, for the just and reasonable charges for the tow and storage services performed. The company may retain possession of that vehicle, consistent with this Chapter, until towing and storage charges and an administrative fee have been paid.
B. If the required towing and storage charges and an administrative fee have been paid, the vehicle must be immediately released to the person(s) entitled to lawful possession. A vehicle towed pursuant to Section 16.30.220 K. shall be immediately released to the person(s) entitled to lawful possession upon proof that a person with valid driving privileges will be operating the vehicle, proof of insurance and payment of towing, storage and payment of an administrative fee to the police agency. If towing and storage charges and an administrative fee have not been paid, a vehicle will not be released, except upon order of the Towing Hearings Officer.
C. A vehicle towed pursuant to this Chapter may only be released to the owner, or to the person who was lawfully in possession or control of the vehicle at time it was towed, or to a person who purchased the vehicle from the owner and who produces written proof of ownership. In all cases, adequate evidence of the right to possession of the vehicle as determined by the City Towing Board of Review, must be presented prior to release of the vehicle.
16.30.530 When Tow Found Invalid.
A. The accrued towing and storage charges assessed under Section 16.30.520, will be waived by the Hearings Officer if the tow is found to be invalid or for any other reason not justified, after a hearing has been held pursuant to Section 16.30.400.
B. A person’s inability to pay the towing and storage charges, in and of itself, is not a sufficient basis for the waiving of such charges.
C. If the charges are owed to a private company, the City will pay them if, after a hearing, the tow is found to be invalid or for any other reason not justified and the charges have not previously been paid.
16.30.540 When Tow Found Valid.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 176352, effective March 27, 2002.) If the Tow Hearings Officer finds the towing and/or storage was valid, the person entitled to possession of the vehicle will be responsible for all towing and storage charges.
16.30.550 Storage Charges at Completion of Hearing.
After the Tow Hearings Officer makes a public determination on a vehicle tow hearing, the vehicle must be picked up by the person entitled to possession within 24 hours to avoid further storage charges. If the vehicle is not claimed within this time period, it will not be released until the additionally accrued storage charges, if any, are paid.
16.30.610 When a Vehicle May be Sold.
A. Whenever any vehicle is taken into custody pursuant to this Chapter, the vehicle will be held at the expense and risk of the owner or person lawfully entitled to possession.
B. At any time within 15 days after any such notice has been sent, as required in Section 16.30.300, the owner or person lawfully entitled to possession of any such vehicle may claim the vehicle by:
1. presenting satisfactory proof of ownership or right to possession; and
2. paying the charges and expenses, if any, incurred in the preservation and custody of the vehicle.
16.30.620 Sale of Vehicles.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 166575, effective June 2, 1993.)
A. As often as is necessary, the City Traffic Engineer will be provided with a list of all unclaimed vehicles which have been towed and stored by or for the City which:
1. Have been in storage 15 days or longer and have been appraised at a value of $750 or less, or;
2. Have been in storage for 30 days or longer.
B. The City Traffic Engineer will, as soon as convenient, authorize the sale of, or sell such vehicles in accordance with the provisions of any contract authorized by the Council. If there is no such contract, the City Traffic Engineer will sell such vehicle at public auction.
1. If a vehicle is sold in accordance with the provisions of a contract, the Director of the City Traffic Engineer will ensure, at the time of sale, a certificate of sale in substantially the following form is issued to the purchaser:
“CERTIFICATE OF SALE
This is to certify that under the provisions of the Traffic Regulations of the City, I did on the . . . . day of . . . . . , 19 . . . sell to . . . . . . . . . . . . . of . . . . . . . . . . . . . for the consideration . . . . . . . . . . Dollars ($ . . . .) the following described personal property:
(Brief description of property)
Dated this . . . . day of . . . . ., 19 . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
City Traffic Engineer
NOTE: The City of Portland assumes no responsibility as to condition or Title of the above described property. In case this sale is for any reason invalid, the liability of the City is limited to return of the purchase price.”
2. If the City Traffic Engineer decides to sell any vehicles held pursuant to this Chapter at public auction, notice of the time and place of such auction sale must be given by publication in the official paper of the City for a period of at least 10 days prior to the date of such sale. Such vehicles must be sold to the highest bidder for cash.
C. The proceeds of such sale will be first applied to payment of the cost of such sale and expense incurred in the preservation and custody of such vehicles and the balance, if any, will be credited to the Transportation Operating Fund of the City.
16.30.710 Authority To Move Vehicles.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 175564 and 188652, effective November 17, 2017.) This Section applies when:
A. The City has restricted parking in an area on a temporary basis and the signs, barriers, or other notice have been removed by someone other than the owner of the vehicle to be towed so that the vehicle owner has not had notice of the parking restriction;
B. There is an emergency and a legally parked vehicle must be moved in order to attend to the emergency.
16.30.720 When a Vehicle May be Moved.
(Amended by Ordinance Nos. 175564, 179141 and 188652, effective November 17, 2017.) Any vehicle parked on a public right‑of‑way, or on City of Portland owned or operated property, may be towed according to the provisions of 16.30.730 upon the order of an authorized City official, or designee, without prior notice to the owner of the vehicle, when removal of the vehicle is required:
A. To provide immediate access for street or utility repair;
B. To facilitate the operations by fire, police, ambulance, or other emergency personnel or vehicles;
C. To provide safe clearance for special events such as parades, marches, or motorcades;
D. To provide clear access for areas specifically reserved by City permit.
16.30.730 Manner of Moving Vehicle.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 165594, effective July 8, 1992.)
A. The City officer or employee ordering a vehicle to be towed may direct that the vehicle be towed and parked at any legal parking space on the public right‑of‑way at any storage facility designated by the City.
B. The City officer or employee is not limited to the City Tow Contract rotation and may enter into agreements with any towing or other firm for removing vehicles.
C. The City officer or employee ordering a vehicle to be towed pursuant to this Section will notify the Police Bureau of the location of the towed vehicle within 1 hour after the completion of the tow.
D. The costs of towing and storing the vehicle for a period not to exceed 72 hours will be paid by:
1. The City in the case of a tow requested by a City officer or employee, or
2. The permittee in the case of a tow requested by a permittee.
E. The owner of the vehicle may be charged a reasonable storage fee for the storage of the vehicle if the vehicle is towed and stored at a private storage facility and the owner fails to remove the vehicle from the private storage facility within 72 hours after the vehicle was towed.
16.30.810 Solicitation of Towing Business at Accidents Prohibited.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 165594, effective July 8, 1992.)
A. Except as otherwise provided herein, no person with a direct or indirect interest in any business engaged in the towing or recovery of motor vehicles for a profit nor any person employed by such a business nor any person receiving any fee or remuneration from such a business, may solicit or attempt to solicit towing business at or near the site of a motor vehicle accident.
B. The prohibitions set forth in Subsection A do not prohibit any person from providing or offering to provide towing services if:
1. The services are provided without charge, fee, or other remuneration;
2. The services are provided or offered at the direction or request of a police officer;
3. The services have been requested by the owner, operator, or other person in charge of the vehicle by radio or telephone communication or otherwise at a location other than the accident site; or
4. Allowed by government contract or franchise.
C. “Solicit or attempt to solicit towing business” means to offer or attempt to offer motor vehicle towing or recovery services for a fee or remuneration.
D. Violation of subsection A of this section is a traffic infraction, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
16.30.820 Obstructing Traffic.
A. The operator of a wrecker or tow truck may stop a vehicle where it obstructs traffic when the operator:
1. Is engaged in the recovery of another vehicle; and
2. Takes the precautionary measures required by this Section.
B. A person commits the offense of failure to take precautions when obstructing traffic with a tow vehicle or wrecker engaged in the recovery of another vehicle if the operator does not do all of the following:
1. Determine that the recovery operation requires stopping the tow or recovery vehicle in the roadway; and
2. Activate tow vehicle warning lights described in ORS 816.280.
16.30.830 Failure to Remove Injurious Substance.
A person commits the offense of tow vehicle operator failure to remove injurious substance if the person is operating a tow vehicle that is removing a wrecked or damaged vehicle from a roadway and the person fails to remove any glass or other injurious substance dropped upon the roadway from such vehicle.