Saturday, January 27, 2007

Oregon Senate Committee to hear predatory towing bills (and the news gets even better than that!)

Towing horror stories have been pouring into Senator Avel Gordly’s office since the Steve Duin story broke in the Oregonian on January 22, stories from the Portland Metro, Albany, Woodburn, Corvallis, Salem….

The horror stories will be published to Senator Gordly's website at on Monday.

The public hearing is set before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, January 31, at 3:00 p.m.

People are coming from all over the state to tell their predatory towing horror stories to the Committee, chaired by Senator Floyd Prozanski. Senator Gordly also serves on the Commerce Committee.

The extra good news is that the Department of Justice is looking at each of those towing horror stories and opening new case files on the incidents.

If you have a towing horror story of your own, NOW is the time to send it in.

The towing industry is seeing the handwriting on the wall, and in workgroup meetings has conceded that regulation is needed, that these predators have gone way, waaaaayyyy too far.

Change is gonna come.

Right now, the workgroup is sorting through the issues and working through amendments to SB 116.

I participate in that workgroup, representing Senator Gordly.

There are currently five legislative vehicles in play addressing predatory towing, and all are being addressed by the workgroup.

Eva Novick, the DOJ’s policy expert, is leading the workgroup, which held its first meeting on January 25.

SB 116 is the Department of Justice’s bill, which had its first hearing before Senate Commerce on January 22.

SB 388, SB 389, SB 390 and SB 431 are Senator Gordly’s bills.

SB 388, SB 389 and SB 390 are up before the Senate Commerce Committee on January 31.

SB 388 requires towers to provide printed rate sheets to vehicle owners who arrive to find a tower in some degree of lawful possession of their vehicle (or so they claim!).

SB 389 requires landlords contracting with tow companies to provide tenants with printed information detailing the actual potential costs of being towed from the property.

SB 390 requires that a landlord provide 24 hours notice to a tenant before having the tenant’s car towed.

SB 431 is an outright ban on patrol towing. This legislation will require property owners or their agent to be present and sign the towing invoice when ordering a vehicle towed without the vehicle owner’s knowledge or permission.

SB 431 will take the decision-making on these tows away from a driver working on commission, which is the root cause of most of these predatory practices.

Tow truck drivers are paid on commission, and many towing companies offer no health or other benefits. They need to fix that situation, too.

The towing industry has already caved in to the provisions of SB 388, which are also in SB 116.

The January 31 hearing will focus on SB 388, SB 389 and SB 390. SB 116 and SB 431 will be heard in the coming weeks.

The public is encouraged to send their horror stories in, and to COME TO THE CAPITOL and tell your story directly to the Commerce Committee.

ACTION PLAN: Send your stories to (1) the Department of Justice, attn Jan Margosian; (2) the Senate Commerce Committee; (3) Senate Commerce Chair Floyd Prozanski; (4) Senator Avel Gordly; (5) your respective Senator and Representative.

The addresses are available online at

While you are at it, send in your horror stories related to the auto finance racket, according to the same Action Plan.

Change is gonna come over there, too.


Torrid said...

Hey Sean--
I printed up a bunch of the stories from Sen Gordly's emails...they're a fascinating read.

Check them out at Loaded Orygun, then come back here to discuss.

Johnny T. Utopia said...

I'm collecting towing horror stories from all over the nation at my "towing utopia" blog:

I'll certainly be linking to this content at some point, but I'd like even more stories, images and if you put your videos up on YouTube I'll be linking to those, too. (I've already linked to four videos on YouTube)

Predatory towing is out of control. Also, the archaic systems that make it difficult to find your car for days at a time...those need reform, too.