Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Tualatin City Council set to address transportation, towing


The Tualatin City Council is slated to vote on a final version of the updated Transportation System Plan after a public hearing on Monday.

Mayor Lou Ogden has expressed concern about the current draft of the plan.

“We are taking two major projects off the TSP without knowing what impact that has to travel time,” he said. “The Hall Street Bridge and the Lower Boones Ferry Bridge are being proposed to be taken off, with no travel time analysis like we did (before removing) the 65th Avenue Bridge (project). I have a serious problem with that. If we study the bridges and conclude they don’t help, I’m in favor of taking them off.”

During the work session prior to the meeting, the council will also review the first draft of a proposed towing ordinance. The ordinance was proposed during a November 2012 meeting, after councilors Monique Beikman and Joelle Davis received a complaint from Tualatin resident Rachel Engstrom, who claimed she was the victim of predatory towing the previous April. Engstrom said she had been away from her car for only a few minutes when it was towed by Portland-based Retriever Towing, leading Engstrom to believe an employee of Retriever had watched her leave her vehicle and go into a neighboring establishment. Engstrom’s dog was in her vehicle when it was towed.

“I think it’s a good idea for us to have something that protects the consumer,” Beikman said, adding that she had spoken with a couple area towing agencies that were in favor of a citywide ordinance.

Ogden said he did not initially feel an ordinance was necessary.

“We had a state law, and I didn’t want to create a big bureaucracy,” Ogden said. “But my thinking is somewhat enlightened. What I’ve learned so far is that most of the things proposed in the ordinance we’re already doing anyway. If (the ordinance) codifies what we’re doing, I don’t have a problem with that.”

The proposed ordinance seeks to regulate signage in private lots that use a towing company to remove vehicles. Towers would be required to photograph the vehicle and signage prior to the tow, and provide Tualatin Police with vehicle and storage information within an hour of towing. Tow companies would also be required to accept credit card payments from vehicle owners and, in a nod to Engstrom’s experience last year, the ordinance instructs towers to “exercise reasonable care of any animal found to be in a towed vehicle.”

The ordinance does not address the fees tow companies are allowed to charge, nor does it limit the distance companies may tow a vehicle. Ogden said he would prefer the council discuss both matters prior to passing the ordinance.

The Tualatin City Council meets on Monday, Feb. 11, for a work session at 5:30 p.m. and a meeting at 7 p.m. Both are held at 18880 SW Martinazzi Ave.