Portland car thefts have skyrocketed in recent years, thanks in part to court rulings making it difficult to prosecute repeat offenders.
Now prosecutors, defense attorneys and lawmakers have crafted a possible solution: a bill that would make it a crime to ride in a car with disregard for a "substantial and unjustifiable risk" that the vehicle was stolen.
Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Lufkin says the bill's language is likely to increase convictions.
"I think the compromise we reached will address the vast majority of cases," he says.
A hefty cost estimate killed a similar bill in 2017. Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), who chairs the House Rules Committee, says the cost still worries her—but she wants a fix: "As a resident of Northwest Portland, I see the aftermath of car break-ins and car thefts nearly every day. I am committed to finding a solution to this growing epidemic in Portland."