City of Portland Looks to Exchange Towing with Parking Boots

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Portland is looking to begin targeting repeat parking violators with parking boots in place of instead of towing them.

Currently, the city has been dealing with repeat offenders by telling towing cars away. The city is looking to change their towing policy to instead allow them to boot the vehicles so that they become immobilized.

The idea behind this is that city officials want to give the vehicle owners an opportunity to pay off their tickets before their car is towed away. Rather than towing their car and charging them an additional several hundred dollars for the towing and overnight storage of it, owners will be able to pay for the fines and removal of the boot instead.

By doing this, residents of Portland can avoid having to pay unnecessary penalties. Portland Transportation Commissioner Steve Novak believes that the high rate of towing in the city can be significantly decreased by using parking boots as an opportunity for the driver to pay off their fines and time.

He spoke about this issue at the city Council meeting held this past Wednesday. He mentioned that booting a car is a more reasonable approach. Since the car remains stationary, it still allows the owner to retrieve their belongings while they wait on the release of their vehicle.

The plan would allow a car to be booted for 36 hours. During this period, the vehicle owner will be asked to contact the court regarding their fines. The city will boot vehicles Saturday through Thursday. Since the court is not open for the majority of the 36 hour period beginning on Friday, they will not boot cars on that day.

In total, $7.5 million is currently owed to the city of Portland in parking tickets alone and there are more than 4,750 vehicles that would be at risk to receive a boot as of today.

The city hopes that this more lenient approach will encourage drivers to pay more of their parking fines. Since they won’t be forced to pay towing fines right away, and they will have a grace period where they can avoid their car being towed, the city believes it will result in that $7.5 million in unpaid fines dropping substantially.

Vehicles will be eligible for a boot when they have accumulated 6 citations or they exceed $500.

The city council will vote on this policy next week. It is expected that it will be approved.

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