Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has added his voice to a chorus of support for a bill that would make it easier to convict people arrested behind the wheel of a stolen car.
In written testimony submitted to the House Rules Committee on Feb. 20, Wheeler said the legislation would “help address the growing problem of car theft in Oregon, the impacts of which are acutely felt within the city of Portland.”
He noted the skyrocketing number of vehicle thefts in Portland disproportionately impact low-income residents whose most valuable possession is often a car.
WW first reported in November the effects of Portland’s high auto-theft rate on working-class residents. Following WW‘s reporting, the Portland Police Bureau has begun to change policies that charge victims for the cost of towing an storing recovered cars.
House Bill 4161 has support from prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement leaders and many legislators, including committee chairwoman and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson (D–Portland). The most likely obstacle for the bill now would be a costly fiscal impact estimate, which killed a similar bill in 2017.