Last Christmas, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pledged to pursue changes to a Portland Police Bureau policy that requires the towing of cars recovered after they've been stolen.
That reform is moving slower than a Chevy Nova—and the police say they have no timeline for action.
The policy, first reported by WW in December, costs the victims of crimes hundreds of dollars, because they have to pay to get their recovered vehicles out of tow lots ("Held for Ransom," WW, Dec. 20, 2017). Those victims tend to be working-class people, because the most commonly stolen cars are older economy models like Honda Civics.
More than eight months after vowing to reform its policy, the bureau still hasn't changed its directive on recovering stolen vehicles. Here's how slowly the cops are moving.
Dec. 20, 2017
After questions from WW, Mayor Ted Wheeler pledges to discuss changing Portland Police Bureau policy to have stolen cars towed, relieving some of the expense for low-income Portlanders.
Dec. 21, 2017
The bureau announces it will seek public feedback on its stolen vehicle directive, starting the process of changing the city's policy to tow recovered cars.
Jan. 1, 2018
Portland racks up more motor vehicle thefts in 2017 than the city has seen in 20 years.
Feb. 7, 2018
The public feedback period ends, and the City Auditor's Office advises the Police Bureau that ending its policy to tow recovered vehicles could cost the city $600,000 in surcharges paid by theft victims when they reclaim their cars.
Sept. 12, 2018
The Police Bureau and the mayor have no timeline for when the policy change will be completed. Meanwhile, 3,851 people reported their vehicles stolen in Portland between January and July. Police recovered 91 percent of those stolen cars—and under the agency's current policy, officers still call a tow truck if the owner can't show up within 30 minutes.