Bill to Legalize Uber Across Oregon Dies in Legislative Committee

House Democrats say the bill didn't get the required hearing in time to be considered this session.

Even as the ride-sharing company Uber faced investigations in Portland and elsewhere over its use of technology to evade regulators, the company went to Salem to try to pass a law that could have preempted city regulations.

But the bill, which would have made ride-hailing apps legal statewide, has hit the skids.

Scott Moore, spokesman for the House Democrats, said that the bill did not get the required hearing to be considered in this legislative session. That means it didn't have enough support from lawmakers to get a hearing before committee work ends.

Last month, state legislators started backing away from preempting existing city regulations and fees on Uber and Lyft, but it was unclear whether they'd carve Portland out of legislation and proceed with opening up the rest of the state to Uber.

In March, The New York Times reported that Uber had used software called "Greyball" to make it appear to Portland inspectors in 2014 that there were cars available nearby when there were not. Company officials later admitted the use of the software was ongoing, though they vowed to cease use of the program.  It was not clear whether Uber used Greyball again in Portland after City Hall approved legislation in 2015 to bring the company here legally.

City Hall was not pleased with the company's efforts to pass state legislation. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler criticized the legislation as the city launched its Uber investigation, and Commissioner Dan Saltzman went to Salem to testify against the bill last month.

"When Uber came to Portland, they ran over regulators and consumers, and after we established basic community standards they tried to do an end run around the city in Salem," says City Commissioner Nick Fish. "They are chronic bad actors, and I'm pleased that this bill is dead."

Uber officials did not respond to requests for comment.

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