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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the reporting requirements if I've been involved in a collision?
A traffic collision will be investigated by the Portland Police Bureau if one or more of the following criteria are met:
  • all fatal or potential fatal collisions
  • serious physical injury collisions
  • collisions involving operators who are under the influence of intoxicants
  • collisions involving drivers who fail to perform the duties required of them at traffic collision scenes (Hit and Run)
  • collisions involving hazardous material spills
Collisions where no Police Officer was at the scene of the collision to investigate it, cannot later be investigated once the scene has been cleared and the driver's have left. This does not apply to Hit and Runs.
Beyond the above investigative criteria for the Bureau, every driver involved in a collision may be required under Oregon State Statute to file a DMV Traffic Accident and Insurance report, if any of the following criteria have been met:
  • damage to any one person's property is over $1,000
  • injury (no matter how minor); or
  • death

How do I file a State Accident report?
Oregon law requires these reports be filed within 72 hours of the accident. If you are not able to file within the 72 hours, submit it as soon as possible. If you fail to report the accident to DMV, it may result in suspension of your driving privileges. If the police department files a police report, you are still required to file your own Accident Report with DMV. If you are an out-of-state resident, you are still required to file your own Accident Report with DMV. DMV does not determine fault in an accident, but does post the accident to the driving record of each driver involved, unless the vehicle was parked and unoccupied.
The Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report may be obtained either at the nearest DMV office, or at any of our five precincts . The instructions for completing the form are attached to the form. Once the form is completed, it must be mailed directly to DMV at the following address:
Accident Reporting Unit
DMV
1905 Lana Ave NE
Salem, Oregon 97314
Forms are also available on-line at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/driverid/accidentreport.shtml

What's required of me if I'm involved in a collision?
An involved driver in a collision is required to do the following:
1. Immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the collision or as close as possible. Every stop, as required, should be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary.
2. Render to any person injured in the collision reasonable assistance, including the conveying or the making of arrangements for the conveying of such person to a medical facility.
3. Remain at the scene of the collision until the driver has fulfilled all of the requirements outlined.
4. Give to the other driver or passenger, the name and address of the driver and the registration number of the vehicle that the driver is driving and the name and address of any other occupants of the vehicle.
5. Upon request and if available, exhibit and give to the occupant of, or person attending any vehicle damaged, the number of any documents issued as evidence of driving privileges granted to the driver. (e.g. Driver's license)
If the person is the driver of any vehicle that collides with any vehicle that is unattended, the person shall immediately stop and:
  • locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle, the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle; or
  • leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle doing the striking, and a statement of the circumstances.
If the person is the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures or property legally upon or adjacent to a public street or highway, the person shall do the following:
1. Take reasonable steps to notify the owner or person in charge of the property of such fact and of the driver's name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle the driver was operating.
2. Upon request and if available, exhibit any document issued as official evidence of a grant of driving privileges to the driver. (e.g. Driver's license)

How can I obtain a copy of a traffic collision report?
Any driver involved in a motor vehicle collision where an Officer filed a Police Report, may obtain a copy of the police report by one of the following methods:
  • Obtain a copy of the report by mail from the Portland Police Records Division, located at 1111 SW 2nd Ave (Justice Center), 503-823-0041. There is a charge of $10.00 for copies of 5 pages or less, and $2.00 for each additional page, and there is approximately a 21 day wait.
  • If you received a Traffic Crash Exchange Report, it is most likely the only report written about the vehicle incident or accident. To obtain the case number that has been assigned to this report, you can contact Information and Referral at 503-823-4636 or the Records Division at 503-823-0043. Please wait at least 72 hours before making an inquiry for the case number.

What are the top 5 moving violations that cause traffic collisions?
The top 5 moving violations that cause the majority of traffic collisions are:
Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) ORS 813.010
A person commits the offense of driving while under the influence of intoxicants if the person drives a vehicle while the person:
a) has .08% or more by weight of alcohol in the blood of the person as shown by chemical analysis,

b) is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance, or,

c) is under the influence of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance.
Violation of the Basic Rule (VBR) ORS 811.100
A person drives a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to all of the following:
a) the traffic
b) the surface and width of the highway
c) the hazard at intersections
d) weather
e) visibility
f) any other conditions then existing
Exceeding the Maximum Urban Speed ORS 811.123
A person drives a vehicle upon a highway in any city or upon a highway within an urban growth boundary that is in a county with a population greater than 100,000 at a speed greater than any speed posted.
Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device ORS 811.265
(For purpose of this section, specifically referring to Disobeying Red Signals and Disobeying Stop Signs)
Disobeying Traffic Signals:
A driver facing a steady circular red signal light shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection. The driver shall remain stopped until a green light is shown except when the driver is permitted to make a turn under ORS 811.360.
On approaching a steady yellow signal, a driver shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection. If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection.
In simple terms, a driver facing a steady yellow signal, is required to come to a complete stop, as that drivers right of way is being terminated. If a driver is so close to an intersection at the time the signal first turns yellow that it would be unsafe for them to stop, then and only then may that driver proceed through the intersection with caution.
Disobeying Stop Signs:
A driver approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it. After stopping, the driver shall yield the right of way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
Following Too Closely ORS 811.485
A person commits the offense of following too closely if the person drives a vehicle so as to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon, and condition of, the highway.
There is a general rule of thumb when determining a safe distance to follow other vehicles. It is called the "2 second rule", and it works at any speed. Watch for when the rear of the vehicle ahead passes a sign, pole or any other stationary point. Count the seconds it takes you to reach the same spot. You are following too closely if you pass the same mark before you finish counting.
Dangerous Left Turn ORS 811.350
A person commits the offense of making a dangerous left turn if the person:
a) is operating a motor vehicle
b) intends to turn the vehicle to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, driveway or place from a highway; and,
c) does not yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

What are my choices in handling a traffic citation?
Information regarding your options in handling a traffic citation are listed in their entirety on the reverse side of the driver's copy of the citation. For those charged only with infractions as checked at the top of citation, in a nutshell, you have the following options:
Option 1: Appear in court at the time indicated at the bottom of the citation. You may plead not guilty and a trial date will be set. You may also plead guilty to the charge, and the judge will set the appropriate fine at that time.
Option 2: Fill in the blanks, attach a written statement to the court, send the summons, the written statement and the check or money order for the bail amount to the court. You waive your right to a trial and consent to the judgment of the court. The court may forfeit all or part of the bail and will return that part, if any.
Option 3: Fill in the blanks, attach a check or money order in the amount of the bail, and send the summons and money to the court. You are pleading guilty to the charge and waive the right to have a trial by the court. You may still send a written explanation if you choose.
Option 4: Fill in the blanks, and send the summons to the court. This will be asking the court to enter a plea of Not Guilty, and a trial date will be set. The court will notify you of the court date. The court may impose penalties if you do not appear at the time given in the notification.
Option 5: Go to the Court Clerk, before the time the summons requires you to appear, and determine if you qualify to proceed with a trial by affidavit. If so, the trial will be based upon sworn, written statements; future court appearances may not be necessary.
In all cases where you will be sending the summons via mail, remember that you must send all paperwork to the court, and they need to receive it, prior to the arraignment date and time set at the bottom of the citation. Failure to either appear at the appointed date/time, or failure to notify the court by mail prior to the court date/time, may result in suspension of your driver's license and/or issuance of a warrant for your arrest.

I received a Photo Radar citation in the mail. How do I go about viewing the photo to see if it was truly me driving?
You may call USPT (the private vendor in charge of the equipment) at 1-800-799-7082 to make an appointment to view the photo. They in turn will notify the Traffic Division by sending copies of all the paperwork including the photo, and you will then meet a Traffic Division Officer at the Traffic Division at the appointed time/date to view the photo. If it was not you driving the vehicle, you may then sign a Certificate of Innocence, show your drivers license to the Officer, and the ticket will be dismissed and the negative and any existing picture will be destroyed.

What is Photo Radar?
Photo radar is simply another way to enforce speed laws. It is operated out of a marked police van by a trained Police Officer. Photo radar combines a camera, radar and a reader board that displays the speed of each passing vehicle. If a speeding car is detected, a picture is taken of the driver and license plate. The registered owner then gets a ticket in the mail.

Why do we need photo radar?
The number one traffic complaint among neighborhood residents is speeding. Why are residents so concerned? Because speeding cars threaten the safety of our children and compromise the livability of our neighborhoods.

Where is photo radar used?
By law, photo radar can be used on any street or roadway within the City that has a demonstrated history of negative impact of speeding.

What do I do if I receive a photo radar ticket?
A photo radar ticket is not different from any other speeding ticket. You can pay the fine or appear in court.

What if the photo radar citation is issued to my business or public agency?
Oregon law authorizes the citation issued to your business or public agency to be dismissed if you complete the Affidavit of Non Liability identifying the driver.

How do I handle a parking violation?
You must do one of the following within 30 days or the fine/bail will double and a warrant for impoundment of your vehicle will be issued. In addition, unpaid amounts may be referred to the Department of Revenue for collection.
1. Pay your ticket. Enclose check or money order in the parking tag envelope. Make check payable to the Circuit Court. Be sure to write your ticket number and auto license number on the check. DO NOT MAIL CASH.
2. Send the bail and a written explanation. You waive the right to a court hearing and consent to any judgment rendered. The court will consider the facts, and refund your bail or forfeit part or all of it. DO NOT MAIL CASH.
3. Schedule a court hearing. Go personally to the Parking Tag Office, Room 106, Multnomah County Courthouse, 1021 SW 4th Ave, Portland. You will be provided with court information at that time. Bail must be posted at the time you request a hearing.

How can I get my car out of impound?
If your vehicle was towed due to the driver of that vehicle being suspended and/or driving uninsured, to obtain a release for your vehicle you must go to the Portland Police Bureau Records Division in the Justice Center, 1111 SW 2nd Ave, Room 1126. Provide the Records Division with the following:
1) Photo/signature Identification, such as your driver's license
2) Proof of ownership. Towed vehicles will be released ONLY to the registered owner (currently registered with DMV) with the following exceptions:
a) you present validated transfer documents from DMV showing that you are in the process of having interest in the vehicle transferred to you.
b) you present a title which has been properly "signed off" and dated within the last 30 days, but not after the vehicle was towed. If the title has been "signed off" after the vehicle was towed or if it has been more than 30 days, you MUST take the title to DMV and return with the paperwork as indicated in a) above.
c) you present a contract of purchase or other bill of sale from a car dealership on the dealerships' letterhead that indicates you purchased the vehicle from a dealership within the last 30 days, and shows that DMV fees have been paid to the dealership.
d) you present a notarized statement from the legal registered owner authorizing the release of the vehicle to you.
3) FEES - there is a $30.00 processing fee if your vehicle was towed for one or more of the following:
a) Driving While Suspended or Driving While Revoked
b) Driving without an operator's license
c) Driving without minimum liability insurance on the vehicle
Payment options include cash (exact amount only), money order (exact amount only), cashier's check (exact amount only) or credit card. Personal checks or traveler's checks will NOT be accepted.
Additional requirements for vehicles towed for no liability insurance:
a) a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, or;
b) a bond approved by a judge of a court of record in this state, or;
c) a deposit with the State Treasurer, or;
d) a self insurance certificate issued by the DMV
For proof of a motor vehicle insurance policy, you must present a current insurance card or policy which lists:
a) the name of the insurance company
b) the effective and expiration dates of the policy
c) the VIN(s) for the vehicle(s) which are being insured
Towing charges can vary greatly from case to case. We cannot estimate these charges. The tow company will generally require cash or a credit card. No checks.
If your vehicle is towed, with the permission of the Officer, you should take your personal property (e.g. glasses, medication, tools, clothing, etc...) with you. Access to the vehicle is highly restricted until a release has been obtained. You may not remove parts from the vehicle prior to towing.
If you have further questions, please call the Records Division of the Portland Police Bureau at 823-0044.

How can I find out if my vehicle was towed?
You may either contact the Records Division in person at 1111 SW 2nd Ave, Room 1126, or call 823-0044. Do not call 911.

How can I report an abandoned vehicle?
If you feel you have an abandoned vehicle in your neighborhood, call the Abandoned Vehicle Hot-Line at 823-7309. Do not call 911 for this type of problem.