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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Oregonian offers public opportunity to toughen laws on towing

Portland, Oregon—

“What if tow operators (and drivers) were licensed to improve consumer protection? Why not ban commissions as a form of compensation for tow truck drivers?....”

In today’s newspaper (December 30, 2008), The Oregonian poses these questions, offered by reader Kevin Johnson of NE Portland.

Read and comment here:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/myoregon/2008/12/license_tow_truck_operators_ba.html

My comment on Mr. Johnson’s suggestions were:

The predatory patrol towing practices of certain Oregon towers (notoriously, Sergeant's and Retriever Towing) were dealt with in broad strokes by the 2007 legislature.

Senate Bills 116 and 431 were passed unanimously by both the House and Senate, indicating the strong public sentiment for towing reforms.

These bills empower the Attorney General and local governments to regulate involuntary towing, INCLUDING THE PRICE THEREOF, but little action has been taken to enforce the new laws.

The business model these predators employ is the basis for most of the towing abuses, but it is important to note that the property owners are complicit, by authorizing towers to delegate decision-making to drivers working on commission.

As State Senator Avel Gordly's Chief of Staff, I led the workgroup that drafted her Senate Bill 431.

It is important to note that 100% of the complaints that Senator Gordly's office received were related to patrol towing, and not to other towing activities, and that all of these incidents drew in police resources, resulting in public expense.

Towed or not, all Oregon citizens have a stake in this issue. Your taxes pay for this extra burden on police time and resources.

Mr. Johnson's suggestions are right on point. There is still work for the 2009 legislature to do regarding towing.

Senator Gordly strongly supports legislation that would mirror California's ban on predatory patrol towing, requiring the property owner to be present at the time of the tow and sign the invoice.

That action would end the majority of towing abuses in a stroke.

Contact your legislator(s) and request that action be taken. You would be surprised at how many will be happy you called.

--Sean Cruz

Contact your legislators here, both House and Senate:

www.leg.state.or.us

File towing complaints with the Attorney General’s Office here:

http://www.doj.state.or.us/finfraud/towing.shtml

==========================

On predators towing vehicles displaying disability placards:

The commission-based compensation system towing predators use is the root of the evil, the sole motivating force behind Retriever and Sergeants drivers towing vehicles belonging to persons with disabilities, often stranding people in wheelchairs.

They do this far, far too frequently…every chance they get, actually….

Most of these tows would have never taken place without property owners agreeing to defer on-the-spot decision-making to drivers working on commission.

Patrol towing companies in Oregon provide their “services” to the property owners for free in exchange for the right to tow at their drivers’ discretion.

Both property owners and patrol towers take it for granted that towing disagreements would involve police and other public resources at taxpayer expense.

The 2009 Oregon legislature needs to address the particular issue of vehicles displaying disability placards, providing an alternative to towing the vehicle away, and a policy of returning towed vehicles to their owners.

Adopting California’s standard, requiring property owners to be present at the time of the tow and sign the invoice, would go far in eliminating these issues.

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Sean Cruz writes:

Blogolitical Sean, political commentary here:

www.blogoliticalsean.blogspot.com

Aaron’s Law, regarding child abduction prevention and resolution here:

www.aaronslaw.blogspot.com

Jim Pepper House, dedicated to the legacy of the late, great Jim Pepper here:

www.jimpepperhouse.blogspot.com

Portland's #1 Predatory Towing Horror Story, regarding predatory patrol towing practices here:

www.patroltowing.blogspot.com

Chicano Hero Cesar Chavez, dedicated to the Mexican-American giant.

http://chicanoherocesarchavez.blogspot.com/

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