Oregon Department of Transportation, Highway Division

Rule Rule 734-020-0148
Disabled, Abandoned, and Otherwise Unattended Vehicle Tow Hearing Process

If a vehicle has been taken into custody by The Oregon Department of Transportation (department) in accordance with ORS 819.110 (Custody, towing and sale or disposal of abandoned vehicle) or 819.120 (Immediate custody and towing of vehicle constituting hazard or obstruction), the department shall provide written notice to the owner of the vehicle in accordance with ORS 819.170 (Notice prior to taking vehicle into custody and towing) or 819.180 (Notice after taking into custody and towing). The vehicle owner(s), person entitled to possession or any person with an interest recorded on the title of the vehicle, may request a hearing in writing, which must be received by the department at the address identified in the notice, within 5 days (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded) from the date of the posting or mailing of the notice, to contest the validity of the towing and custody of the vehicle, and subject to subsection 7 below, the reasonableness of the charges for towing and storage. The hearing shall comply with all of the following:


The department shall set a time for the hearing within 72 hours of the receipt of the request and shall provide notice of the hearing to the person requesting the hearing and to the owner(s) of the vehicle, and any lessors or security interest holders shown in the department records. The 72 hour period of time does not include Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays.


Actions taken by department, including conducting the hearing, are not subject to ORS chapter 183; and are therefore, not subject to the Administrative Procedures Act and the hearings are not conducted by the Office of Administrative Hearings.


The department District Manager for the district within which the tow occurred is hereby designated to act as the department’s hearings officer. In the event the District Manager is unable or unavailable to conduct the hearing, a department employee shall be designated by the District Manager to act as hearings officer.


The hearing shall be conducted via telephone unless the person requesting the hearing requests other accommodations with justification for the request in which case the hearing shall be held at the District Manager’s or the designee’s office.


If the District Manager, or designee, determines the towing of the vehicle was invalid, the vehicle shall be immediately released upon payment by the department of the towing and storage fees, which shall occur as quickly as reasonably possible. The person to whom the vehicle is released is not liable for any towing or storage charges. If the towing and storage fee has already been paid, the department shall reimburse the person who paid the fee for the charges upon presentation of satisfactory proof of payment.


If the District Manager, or designee, determines the custody and towing of the vehicle was valid, the department shall order the vehicle to be held in custody until the costs of the hearing and all towing and storage costs are paid by the party claiming the vehicle.


If the person requesting the hearing contests the reasonableness of the charges for towing and storage, the District Manager, or designee, shall consider such request only when the department has used its own personnel, equipment and facilities for the towing and storage of vehicles and shall provide a determination concerning the reasonableness of the department’s charges in the written statement of the results of the hearing.


The department shall only conduct one hearing for each vehicle custody and tow even if the person requesting the hearing, or any other interested party or witness fails to appear at the scheduled hearing unless the person provides reasons satisfactory to the District Manager or designee for such failure to appear.


Hearings shall be informal in nature, and the presentation of evidence shall be consistent with the requirements of ORS 183.450 (Evidence in contested cases).


The District Manager, or designee, shall provide a written statement of the results of the hearing to the person requesting the hearing.


The determination of a hearing is final and is not subject to appeal.

Last accessed
Jun. 8, 2021