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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Retriever Towing re-victimizes injured woman, Gary Coe offers insults

Portland, Oregon--

A Retriever Towing driver re-victimized an injured woman in an emergency situation, as reported in the Oregonian here:

KATU-TV television news coverage of the incident showed Retriever's owner, Gary Coe, alleging that the victim "smelled of alcohol and had no business driving a car", according to the report.

The link to the report is here:

Coe was not present at the scene and had no basis to make such a judgment, which was NOT echoed by the police officers who actually were there.

Such is the character of the man in charge of Oregon's largest predatory towing empire....

The Oregonian's Maxine Bernstein’s recently described how another Retriever patrol towing incident escalated rapidly to include an angry crowd, an attempt to set fire to the tow truck, and the vehicle owner under arrest:

KATU also reported on an incident where a driver for Sergeant's tow-jacked the car of a woman in labor, here:

These incidents underscore the point that patrol towing is hazardous to the health of the general public, the legal foundation for California’s ban on the practice.

Oregon is the only state on the west coast that allows patrol towing.

The 2007 Oregon Legislature, under the leadership of Senator Avel Gordly, imposed regulations on patrol towing that have yet to be fully implemented, particularly by local governments.

The towing bills passed that year were Senate Bill 116 and Senate Bill 431.

I led the SB 431 workgroup, which focused on private property impounds, to deal with situations such as these, and participated in the SB 116 workgroup, which addressed the broad scope of towing in the state of Oregon.

Prior to the passage of these bills, towing practices in Oregon were largely unregulated, with state and local jurisdictions having little explicit authority to put a dent in abusive and predatory towing.

SB 116 laid out the public policy goal: “(a) Statutes that assist members of the public in avoiding involuntary loss of use of motor vehicles and in expediting recovery of motor vehicles and the personal property in the motor vehicles promote the safety and welfare of members of the public.”

SB 116 establishes the authority of the Oregon Attorney General to receive complaints and to adopt and implement rules to promote the safety and welfare of members of the public. This legislation classifies many abusive towing practices under Oregon's Unfair Trade Practices statutes, which greatly increases the State's power to put the hammer down....

SB 116 also establishes the authority of local governments to regulate patrol towing within their respective jurisdictions, but none seem to have taken any action since the legislation was enacted.

SB 431 addresses private property impounds or patrol towing, the cause of the vast majority of towing complaints.

The legislation also gave state and local governments the authority to regulate the prices towers may charge for heisting your vehicle, but there has been little, if any, action taken.

This is where a conflict of interest exists within municipal governments: as much as they may dislike the practice, they need the revenue generated by patrol towing operations to fund city and county services.

Placing a cap on the amount of ransom a tower can charge the victim for release of the victim’s vehicle is an obvious next step, but no elected official has stepped up to take that one on: the pushback will come not only from the towing companies, the heaviest political pressure will come from the commercial interests that authorize the patrol towing practices on their properties.

The property owners pay nothing for the patrol towing “services”, and they want to keep it that way.

The tow company owners pay their drivers on bonus or commission schedules, which explains the drivers’ motivation for aggressive behavior and need for speed.

Some of these drivers carry weapons.

As the patrol towers’ costs increase, they will increase their ransom demands at points of contact with the public.

In both cases, the driver verbally demanded approximately $150-180 in cash for release of the vehicle.

How likely is the average apartment dweller to have that much cash on hand without prior notice?

Some are more likely to have a handgun, a rifle or a shotgun at home than a wallet full of cash.

A section of Senate Bill 116 explicitly requires tow truck drivers to provide their prospective victims with a printed rate sheet so that there is no confusion about the amount of ransom demanded. Failure to do so is an unfair trade practice under the new law, and it is highly important that the public contacts Oregon's Attorney General whenever these incidents occur.

Believe me, there are lawyers in the AG's office who really want to take the predators on a perp walk.

Other states and the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals have recognized the broad range of hazards to the general public and to the drivers themselves that patrol towing creates. Oregon has yet to step up and resolve the main issues.

The towers’ fee demands are often confiscatory in effect. Loss of vehicle is a penalty far beyond what is just for the “offense” that may or may not have been committed by the vehicle owner.

The patrol towers are hired to do one thing: remove a vehicle from the property.

If you are present at the scene, then you can remove the vehicle yourself. No need for a tow truck.

But that leaves the driver with an investment of time and emotion, and no money forthcoming from his employer, so he must get what he can from you, the vehicle owner.

California’s ban on predatory patrol towing is simple and straightforward, requiring the property owner to be present at the time of the tow and to sign the authorization form.

Commercial property interests and the patrol towers, led by the owners of Retriever and Sergeant’s Towing, were able to prevent the inclusion of this language in the 2007 legislation, over Senator Gordly’s objections.

This is the most important towing reform legislative work yet to be completed, but I am unaware of any legislative office that is working on the issue (Senator Gordly is retiring prior to the 2009 session).

Here are some important links regarding patrol towing:

Link to description of key towing bills (“Towing reform bills moving”):

Link to Senate Bill 116 (2007):

Link to Senate Bill 431 (2007):


Towmater said...

I read that Retriever Towing removed there email and phone numbers from their web site to silence the angry citizens calling about the re-victimized woman. I thought the following cell phone numbers might help THE PEOPLE to voice their anger or help recover their own cars from the people who run this towing empire.

(City of Portland Towing Coordinator)
Marion Gaylord (503)823-5146
(503) 865-2489

(Portland Tow Desk Cant do anything but tell you who has your car.
Dispatcher (503)528-7460

(Owner of Speed's, Retriever, etc.)
Gary Coe (503) 949-5023

(Speed's President)
Dave Reichert (503) 572-6424

(Gary's Cheif Executive Officer)
Mike Porter (503) 572-6438

(Speed's Sales Manager)
Kent Drangsholdt (503) 572-9959

(Retriever Driver Manager)
Chuck White (503) 222-4763

(Speed's Day Time Driver Manager)
Devin Edwards (503) 969-8641

(Speed's Night Time Driver Manager)
Lloyd Buckley (503) 313-5529

(Private Parking Auditors Manager)
Michael Coe (503) 222-1476

(Auction Yard Manager)
Jason Brett (503) 969-7143

(Oregon Lien Manager)
Cherise Emmons (503) 233-3580

(Speed's, Retriever Dispatch Manager) Her office only dispatch's for Retriver at night.
Teresa Leatham (971)246-4123

(Speed's Main Number)
Speed's Supertow (503) 234-5555

(Retriever's Main Number)
Retriever Towing (503) 222-4763

Anonymous said...

Hey Sean Keep rocking this Blog man I love reading it. We need people like you in this town.

I found this while looking up Retriever Towing. I laughed so hard I had a coughing fit. First they say all applicants must be atleast 23 and then they say they dont discriminate. Also after calling on a whim, I can tell you that any new hires will have to wait till they have enough senority to get the shifts that fall during the week day. Apparently no one likes to work at night or on the weekends. Imagine that? They also dont mention the 24hr on call shifts that every driver has to do on top of normal shifts. It's little wounder this add is never taken off craig's list.

TOW TRUCK DRIVERS - no experience needed (NW Portland)

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-10-27, 4:19PM PDT

BEST MONEY IN TOWING! Your professionalism, people skills, and personal drive get you big dollars. Impound towing. 40 to 45 hours per week shifts. Excellent fleet.

DAY SHIFT POSITION AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY. 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. Well-groomed applicants with clean driving record; no criminal record. Must be 23 years of age or older.

Attractive pay plan and schedule. Towing experience unnecessary. WE TRAIN YOU!

Retriever Towing is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status.

Apply Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Retriever Towing, 1551 NW Quimby, Portland, Oregon. Call Chuck, day or night, for questions or more information, 971-563-3190.

Location: NW Portland
Compensation: Competitive pay plan
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Phone calls about this job are ok.
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 895969221

watchdog008 said...

Hey, the retriever towing driver that charged this girl money... His name is Clark. I know him. I used to date him. I heard about this through friends of mine. They told me Clark hooked this girls car up and charged her. He has always been a rude son of a gun. He hit me one time and so I broke up with him. Go figure he would charge this poor girl. I can't believe Retriever didn't fire this guy. I hate him and that is why I am posting his personal cell phone number for any of you to call him and tell him exactly what you think of his conduct. Here's his cell phone number...503-333-6468. Blow his phone up everyone and tell him personally just what you think of him.