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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Media Relations

Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer

503-823-3723

For breaking news from Portland Bureau of Transportation see our Twitter feed: @PBOTinfo

For breaking news on overall service disruptions in the Portland-Vancouver metro area, go to @publicalerts or see www.publicalerts.org 


News Release: Uber and its drivers may face penalties, fines for operating illegally in Portland, Transportation Bureau warns

(Dec. 5, 2014) The Portland Bureau of Transportation has learned that transportation company Uber has said it will start offering taxi service in Portland illegally on Friday night.

City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, said the City is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections. The City of Portland requires permits for drivers and companies that offer taxi or executive sedan service within the city limits.

“There’s nothing sharing about this so-called ‘sharing economy’ company: They want to profit in Portland without playing by the same rules as existing cab companies,” Novick said. “People who pick up passengers for Uber in Portland should know that they are operating illegally and could be subject to penalties. Public safety, fairness among competitors and customer service are our top priorities. Unlike permitted drivers, Uber drivers do not carry commercial insurance, putting Portland customers at great risk.”

Portland and Vancouver, Wash. are the only cities in the metropolitan area that regulate taxi companies. Uber recently started operating in Vancouver without permits and in other area cities that do not regulate taxis.

Since the City Council moved taxi regulation from the Revenue Bureau to PBOT, effective July 1, Commissioner Novick and transportation officials started a top-to-bottom review intended to update the City’s taxi and executive sedan regulations.

Commissioner Novick is convening a task force to reexamine existing taxi regulations and see if those regulations should be restructured while protecting consumers and drivers.

“We have told Uber and Lyft that they are welcome to offer ideas for regulatory changes,” Novick said. “Uber has chosen instead to break the law.”

It is illegal for motorists to pick up passengers for a fee in the Portland city limits without proper permits. Taxis that pick up passengers outside of Portland may drop off those passengers in Portland without a permit.

Anyone in Portland can use the smartphone app Curb to call taxis from Broadway and Radio Cab, which are two of the largest permitted taxi companies in the city.

The three most common violations of City Code that city enforcement officers find, and which Uber and its drivers may be in violation of, are:

 

Code Section

Requirement

1st Offense

2nd Offense

Subsequent Offenses

16.40.090 A.

LPT and Taxi Driver Permit

$1,000

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.150 A.

Taxi Company Permit

$1,500

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.190 B.

Taxiplate

$1,250

$2,500

$5,000

Full City Code Citation: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28593#cid_408153

 

The Limited Passenger Transportation and Taxi Driver Permit requirements ensure the public that drivers have passed annual City-required annual background checks.

The Taxi Company Permit requirement ensures the public that licensed companies have appropriate commercial insurance that will cover passengers in the event of a crash, and that the companies’ drivers have annual City-required background checks and inspected vehicles.

The Taxiplate display requirement calls for posting of a metal plate on the vehicle with an identification number. It helps customers and enforcement officers identify permitted operators.

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News Release: City of Portland sues Uber for operating illegal, unregulated transportation service

(Dec. 8, 2014) The City of Portland has filed suit against Uber Technologies Inc. in Multnomah County Circuit Court, after documenting that the California-based company started operating private-for hire transportation services in the city.

The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief that Uber is subject to and in violation of the City of Portland’s Private for Hire Transportation Regulations and Administrative Rules. The City’s lawsuit is asking for a declaration by the court that Uber is subject to the City’s regulations. The lawsuit also asks the Court to order Uber to stop operating in Portland until it is in compliance with the City’s safety, health and consumer protection rules.

Transportation Director Leah Treat on Monday morning issued a Cease and Desist Order to Uber. The order was cited in the lawsuit.

“I am hereby directing that Uber Technologies Inc…. or any other Uber affiliate entity immediately cease and desist operating within the City of Portland until such time as appropriate permits are obtained and Uber is in full compliance with the requirements of Portland City Code Chapter 16.40,” Treat wrote. “Please alert all Uber-affiliated drivers that they are to cease and desist.”

“Our main concern is public health and safety, because the state invested in the cities the responsibility to do that,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Beyond that, though, is the issue of fairness. Taxi cab companies follow rules on public health and safety. So do hotels and restaurants and construction companies and scores of other service providers. Because everyone agrees: good regulations make for a safer community. Uber disagrees, so we’re seeking a court injunction.”

City Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT, said the City is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections. The City of Portland requires permits for drivers and companies that offer taxi or executive sedan service within the city limits.

“If Uber thinks there should be no maximum price on what they charge Portlanders, they should make their case to the Portland City Council,” Novick said. “If Uber thinks taxi companies shouldn’t have to serve people with disabilities, they should make their case. If Uber thinks taxis should not have to have proper insurance in case of a crash, they should tell us why we should allow that.”

Uber drivers accepted and then later cancelled two rides requested by Portland Bureau of Transportation enforcement officials on Friday night. Uber drivers provided three rides to City enforcement officials on Saturday night. Uber has widely publicized that it was operating in Portland over the weekend.

The Transportation Bureau issued two civil penalties to Uber on Monday, one for operating without a company permit and another for operating without a vehicle permit.

As the City documents Uber’s unpermitted operations in Portland, the Bureau will issue warnings to Uber drivers and penalties to the company. Drivers found to be repeatedly operating without a permit may be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

An attorney representing the City of Portland also issued a Cease and Desist Order Monday to Uber for unauthorized use of the image of the historic “Portland, Oregon” sign in Old Town in its advertising. The sign’s image is a trademark registered with the State of Oregon. If Uber does not cease all commercial use of the sign by 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, the City is prepared to seek a court order, damages and attorney’s fees.

The Transportation Bureau encourages the public to report illegal taxi operations, and complaints about any private for hire transportation provider to 503-865-2486 or by email to regulatory@portlandoregon.gov

Background on Private for Hire Transportation in Portland Portland and Vancouver, Wash. are the only cities in the metropolitan area that regulate taxi companies. Uber recently started operating in Vancouver without permits and in other area cities that do not regulate taxis.

Since the City Council moved taxi regulation from the Revenue Bureau to PBOT, effective July 1, Commissioner Novick and transportation officials started a top-to-bottom review intended to update the City’s taxi and executive sedan regulations.

Commissioner Novick is convening a task force to reexamine existing taxi regulations and see if those regulations should be restructured while protecting consumers and drivers.

It is illegal for motorists to pick up passengers for a fee in the Portland city limits without proper permits. Taxis that pick up passengers outside of Portland may drop off those passengers in Portland without a permit.

Anyone in Portland can use the smartphone app Curb to call taxis from Broadway and Radio Cab, which are two of the largest permitted taxi companies in the city.

The three most common violations of City Code that city enforcement officers find, and which Uber and its drivers may be in violation of, are:

 

Code Section

Requirement

1st Offense

2nd Offense

Subsequent Offenses

16.40.090 A.

LPT and Taxi Driver Permit

$1,000

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.150 A.

Taxi Company Permit

$1,500

$2,500

$5,000

16.40.190 B.

Taxiplate

$1,250

$2,500

$5,000

Full City Code Citation: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28593#cid_408153

 The Limited Passenger Transportation and Taxi Driver Permit requirements ensure the public that drivers have passed annual City-required annual background checks.

The Taxi Company Permit requirement ensures the public that licensed companies have appropriate commercial insurance that will cover passengers in the event of a crash, and that the companies’ drivers have annual City-required background checks and inspected vehicles.

The Taxiplate display requirement calls for posting of a metal plate on the vehicle with an identification number. It helps customers and enforcement officers identify permitted operators.

We've also put together a collection of frequently asked questions about taxi and other private for hire transportation regulations in Portland.

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Up Your Visibility Game

Fluorescent for Day, Reflective for Night

(December 11, 2014)  What is the best strategy for being seen and staying safe while out and about during a Portland winter? Invest in some time or money in high visibility gear or clothing.

Man wearing fluorescent and reflective jacketHigh visibility gear and clothing is made of fluorescent colors with added reflective tape or designs. To best be seen in all conditions - during the day, at dusk and at night - you should be wearing both fluorescent and reflective items.

Daytime Visibility

Wear something fluorescent to be most visible during the daytime. Fluorescent materials appear bright during the day and even brighter near dusk, but are less effective for nighttime use.

It has to do with optics theory and physics, but fluorescent colors look really bright because of the way they absorb and emit different kinds of light. Lots of colors can be fluorescent but the yellow and orange clothing worn by road crews and emergency personnel as well as some green and pink colors are the most popular and effective.

During the daylight hours the sun’s ultraviolet rays react with the fluorescent colors to make them appear to glow, or fluoresce, and this effect is even stronger in poor light conditions such as in rain, fog or toward dusk, which are typical Portland winter conditions.

Nighttime Visibility

Wear something reflective to be the most visible at nighttime. After dark, the light from sources like car headlights bounces off reflective materials, actually making them glow, and reflects at least some of that light back to the source.

Since reflective materials work at night by bouncing back the light from a source, to work properly it needs to be dark and there must be a light source such as car headlights. These materials are not so effective during the daytime.

Not all reflective materials are created the same, however. Some technology scatters the reflective light with only some of the light being directed back to drivers. Retro-reflective materials are designed to bounce most of the light back to its source rather than scattering it. The light from a driver’s headlights will go straight back to the driver allowing them to see the retro-reflective material, and thus the pedestrian or bicyclist wearing it, extremely well.

Up Your Visibility Game

Black backpack with bright stickersWhat can you do if you don’t want to buy all new outerwear? If your rain gear is dark colored or even black, it’s a good idea to wear or carry something fluorescent on rainy days. Think a bright orange or yellow umbrella or even a safety sash or vest.

You can also add reflective tape to your regular clothing to be more visible at night. Reflective tapes and sew-on materials can be purchased online, at some craft or fabric stores, hardware stores, safety supply stores such as Sanderson’s Safety Supply, and even auto supply stores and bike shops.

The best place to add strips of reflective materials are around the joints or moving parts of the human form. Adding reflective bits of material to the ankles, knees, elbows and wrists will help the driver recognize you as a person on the move and send the message that they need to slow down. The main thing to remember is: Fluorescent for day, Reflective for night.

News Advisory: Evening crosswalk enforcement action slated to promote pedestrian safety Dec 16 at E Burnside St and NE 24 Ave

(December 12, 2014) – The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Portland Police Bureau advise the traveling public that a crosswalk enforcement action is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 16, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness of pedestrian safety and Oregon traffic laws.

The City police and transportation bureaus are holding this month’s crosswalk enforcement action during the evening rush hour at East Burnside Street and 24th Avenue to reinforce the need for drivers to stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in the crossing at all times, and to be extra alert during the low light conditions of late fall and winter.

Burnside Street as a whole is designated by the transportation bureau as one of the city’s ten High Crash Corridors, streets with high crash rates that the bureau is targeting for improvements as well as educational efforts.  This stretch of Burnside Street was recently redesigned to improve safety as part of the East Burnside Traffic Safety Project.

This location has a marked crosswalk on one leg, a median island, and signage to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians in the crossing.  This spring, the crossing is slated for further safety improvements, which will add an island and marked crossing on the west leg.

Each crosswalk enforcement action involves a designated pedestrian crossing at a marked or unmarked crosswalk while police monitor how people who are driving, bicycling and walking adhere to traffic safety laws.

The City is urging all travelers to be visible and look out for each other, especially during low light conditions of late fall and winter.

  • Drivers can do their part by driving at or below the posted speed and continuously scanning the environment for pedestrians and people on bicycles and being ready to stop as needed.  
  • Bicyclists, by state law, must have a white front light and rear red reflector or red light at a minimum.
  • Pedestrians are encouraged to be more visible by wearing retro-reflective wear, carrying a flashlight or blinking strobe, and investing in bright and contrasting outerwear.

Drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who fail to follow Oregon traffic laws may be issued a warning or citation.

Crosswalk enforcement actions are an effective way to communicate pedestrian right of way laws to both drivers and pedestrians. The transportation and police bureaus do enforcement actions about once each month in response to requests by community members, city traffic safety engineers, and Portland Police to educate the general public on the rules at marked and unmarked crossings.

Learn more about pedestrian visibility at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/512391, the Transportation Bureau’s safety work at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/40390 and pedestrian rights and responsibilities at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/435879.

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Crosswalk Enforcement Action Planned for Tuesday, December 16 [Updated]

In an active city like Portland, drivers should expect to see pedestrians and cyclists out at all times.

Officer talking with driver who failed to stop(December 15, 2014)  The Portland Police Bureau and PBOT have scheduled a crosswalk enforcement action during the evening rush hour on Tuesday, December 16 at East Burnside Street and 24th Avenue. The crosswalk enforcement action will take place from 6:00-7:30pm. Crosswalk enforcement actions are intended to highlight the need for drivers to stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in the crossing at all times and to be extra alert during the low light conditions of late fall and winter.

Each crosswalk enforcement action involves a designated pedestrian crossing at a marked or unmarked crossing while police monitor how well people who are driving, bicycling and walking adhere to traffic safety laws. The Oregon Crosswalk Law (ORS 811.028) requires motorists to “…stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in a marked or unmarked crosswalk when the pedestrian is in the motorist’s lane or the adjacent lane.” Vehicle operators who fail to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk and pedestrians who fail to follow Oregon traffic laws may be issued a warning or citation.

These enforcement actions remind vehicle operators to share the road and be ready to stop or yield the right-of-way as needed, so we can all arrive at our destinations safely. The City urges all travelers to be alert and look out for each other, especially during the darker and shorter days of winter. Drivers can do their part by driving at or below the posted speed and by continuously scanning the environment for people walking and bicycling (and other non-auto road users) and to be ready to stop when needed.

(Update, December 17, 2014)   During the crosswalk enforcement the Portland Police Bureau's Traffic Division witnessed 42 violations and issued two warnings.  Of the 42 violations, 22 were for failure to stop and remain stopped at a crosswalk, 2 were for passing a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, along with 18 other violations.  All crosswalk enforcement actions are advertised in advance, and signs are posted ahead of the intersection to alert road users that an enforcement activity is taking place.