Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland Police Bureau have a belated Christmas gift for victims of car theft: Next year, they likely won't have to pay to get their recovered cars out of private tow lots.

That reform comes as a result of a WW story.

On Wednesday, WW reported that under Portland's current policy, victims of car theft often have to pay hundreds of dollars to buy back their stolen cars from private tow companies contracted by the city.

After WW presented questions about the towing policy, Mayor Ted Wheeler pledged to discuss changing the policy in a meeting with Police Chief Danielle Outlaw.

Now the Portland Police Bureau has announced it is seeking public comment on its directives that guide officers who recover stolen vehicles—signaling an imminent change in the city's policy that passes the cost of towing recovered vehicles on to the owners.

The bureau will start taking public comment on its website in the first two weeks of January, says PPB spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. WW will post a link when the page goes live next month.

Once public comments are received and analyzed, the city can propose changes that could go into effect 30 days after being posted online.

The nonprofit WW Fund for Investigative Journalism provided support for this story.