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Towed Vehicle Frequently Asked Questions

Criteria for retrieving a vehicle towed by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office are listed below. If you have additional questions, please call the Records Unit at 503-988-7300.

When can/will the sheriff's office tow my car?

  • If the vehicle was abandoned, parked illegally, hazardously or prisoner property.
  • If the driver was arrested for DUII.
  • If the driver is unlicensed, or the vehicle is uninsured or was in violation of registration/title laws.
  • If the vehicle was participating in speed racing.
  • If the vehicle was evidence of an offense or subject to asset forfeiture laws.
  • If the vehicle is a recovered stolen or involved in a crash/not drivable.


How to get my towed car released?


Release of towed vehicles
  • A release must be obtained by the legal / registered owner(s) of a vehicle towed as a Sheriff’s Office request or as an Abandoned Vehicle.
  • The legal owner must provide government issued photo ID, proof of insurance as listed in ORS 806.010 (if towed for no insurance), and if not the registered owner, proof of ownership of the vehicle (notarized bill of sale, a signed title within 30 days, or valid DMV registration paperwork) to the Law Enforcement Records Unit at 234 SW Kendall Ct. Troutdale, Oregon 97060, 503-988-7300.
  • $125 processing fee must be paid in cash, cashier’s check, Visa/Mastercard or money order, in the exact amount, to the Law Enforcement Records Unit. If the vehicle was towed as a Formal Hold, the tow fees will be collected by Law Enforcement Records Technicians.
  • The Law Enforcement Records Unit will not issue a release of a vehicle to an individual who is intoxicated at the time they attempt to obtain the vehicle. If the vehicle was towed for DUII, person must wait 12 hours from time of tow.


When can/will the Sheriff’s Office tow an abandoned vehicle?


Abandoned vehicle tows

Oregon law makes a distinction between vehicles which the deputy has reason to believe are disabled or abandoned; those which are merely parked or left standing upon the right of way; and those which constitute a hazard.

Oregon law assigns responsibility for towing abandoned vehicles from state highways to the Oregon State Police. It further assigns the Sheriff responsibility for towing abandoned vehicles from county roads or highways “outside the corporate limits of cities and towns.”

The Sheriff’s Office has been authorized by written agreement to tow vehicles from the following:

  • State highways outside the incorporated city limits.
  • All rights of way, including state highways and within the incorporated city limits of Maywood Park, Wood Village, Fairview and Troutdale.
  • Due to an absence of such written authorization, abandoned vehicles located within the incorporated city limits of Gresham and Portland shall be referred to the appropriate agencies for disposal.

It is the policy of the Sheriff’s Office not to tow abandoned vehicles from private property.

As city ordinances are subject to change and may have differing elements, deputies shall always examine the appropriate contract city’s ordinances before taking enforcement action relating to towing abandoned or hazardous vehicles.


Towing of a derelict recreational vehicle not constituting an immediate traffic hazard

Derelict Recreational Vehicle (RV) means a vehicle, with or without motor power that is designed for human occupancy and to be used temporarily for recreational, seasonal or emergency purposes and the vehicle has some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Inoperable, partially or wholly dismantled, severely damaged possibly including inoperable wastewater or sewage systems and not in a condition suitable for habitation.

Upon discovery of an unoccupied derelict recreational vehicle, as defined in section I of this policy, the Deputy will:

  • Determine if the RV is in Unincorporated Multnomah County or within a contract city’s limits. If the RV is within a contract city’s limits and being towed pursuant to the contract city ordinance, then the deputy will contact the contract city designee for approval and to assist in coordinating the tow at the contract city’s expense.


How do I request a Tow Hearing?

A request for a hearing must be in writing and must state the ground upon which the person(s) requesting the hearing believes the removal and custody of the vehicle is not justified. Please provide your name, address, phone number, case number and an explanation. Requests can be sent to or mailed to 234 SW Kendall Ct. Troutdale, Oregon 97060.

A request for a hearing with the Tow Hearings Officer must be made not more than five (5) days after the Abandoned Vehicle Notice (PS 1809) has been affixed to the vehicle or after the post seizure notice required under ORS 819.180 is mailed for vehicles towed under ORS 819.120 for posing a hazard. The five (5) day period in this subsection does not include holidays or weekends.

Upon receipt of a proper request for a hearing, the Tow Hearings Officer shall review all available records and evidence offered. The Tow Hearings Officer, after review and by substantial evidence on the record, finds that the custody and removal of the vehicle was either valid or invalid.



General questions about towed vehicles, please contact Law Enforcement Records Unit at 234 SW Kendall Ct. Troutdale, Oregon 97060 or call 503-988-7300.

Any questions for the Tow Hearings Officer can be sent to