Chapter 5.72

5.72.000    Chapter Contents


5.72.010    Operator defined.

5.72.020    Licenses required – Fees.

5.72.030    License application requirements.

5.72.090    Operator at scene of accident.

5.72.100    Intercepting police calls prohibited.

5.72.110    Gratuity for information prohibited.

5.72.120    Grounds for revocation of license.

5.72.130    Enforcement – Notice of appeal – Hearing.

5.72.140    Violations – Misdemeanor – Gross misdemeanor – Civil infraction.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010, repealed OMC 5.72.040 through 5.72.080).

5.72.010 Operator defined

For the purpose of this chapter a wrecker or towing operator hereinafter referred to as “operator” means any person who engages in the impounding, transporting or storage of unauthorized vehicles or the disposal of abandoned vehicles.

For purposes of this section, “unauthorized vehicle” means a vehicle that is subject to impoundment after being left unattended in one of the following public or private locations for the indicated period of time:

Subject to removal after:


Public locations:



Constituting an accident or a traffic hazard as defined in RCW 46.55.113




On a highway and tagged as described in RCW 46.55.085

24 hours



In a publicly owned or controlled parking facility, properly posted under RCW 46.55.070



Private locations:



On residential property




On private, nonresidential property, properly posted under RCW 46.55.070




On private, nonresidential property, not posted

24 hours

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 5078 §1, 1990).

5.72.020 Licenses required – Fees

No operator shall engage in business within the City or offer such service therein without first applying for and obtaining a towing operator’s base license, the annual fee for which is thirty dollars ($30.00). The expiration date for all such licenses shall be in accordance with OMC 5.02.020.

In addition to the above, an additional twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall be assessed for any new license issued under this chapter for the first year of such license. This assessment is necessary to defray the administrative costs in reviewing an application and issuing a license.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 5621 §1, 1996; Ord. 4753 §10, 1987; Ord. 3368 §2, 1966).

5.72.030 License application requirements

Applications for licenses issued under this chapter shall be made upon blank forms prepared and made available by the Director and sworn to by the applicant which shall include:

A.    The name or assumed name under which the applicant is doing business, home address, and proposed business address of the applicant;

B.    The description including the make, model and serial number and company number, if any, of the tow trucks owned or operated by the applicant;

C.    Such other information as the Director shall reasonably require to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 3368 §3, 1966).

5.72.090 Operator at scene of accident

It is unlawful for the operator or driver of any wrecker or towing car to go to any place where a vehicular accident has occurred unless called by the owner of a disabled vehicle or his authorized representative or by a police officer. If any wrecker or towing car is called to the scene of a vehicular accident by someone other than a police officer, the operator shall as soon as reasonably practical notify the Police Department.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 3368 §11, 1966).

5.72.100 Intercepting police calls prohibited

It is unlawful for the operator or driver of any wrecker or towing car to intercept or monitor police calls by shortwave radio or otherwise, for the purpose of going to the scene of a disabled motor vehicle.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 3368 §12, 1966).

5.72.110 Gratuity for information prohibited

It is unlawful for the operator, agent or driver or any wrecker or towing car to offer or pay a gratuity or reward to anyone for furnishing information as to the location of a disabled vehicle, or for anyone to accept or receive such gratuity or reward.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 3368 §13, 1966).

5.72.120 Grounds for revocation of license

The grounds for the revocation of a license issued under this chapter are as follows:

A.    The license was procured by fraudulent conduct or false statement of a material fact, or that a material fact concerning the applicant was not disclosed at the time of his making application.

B.    The licensee, his agent or representative has offered to pay or has paid directly or indirectly a gratuity or reward to any person not a bona fide employee of the operator for furnishing information as to the location of a disabled vehicle.

C.    The licensee has violated any provisions of Section 5.72.070 or any of the rules and regulations as established under Section 5.72.080.

D.    If any employee of the City or any of its departments has any interest, whether as an owner, operator, partner, employee or otherwise, either directly or indirectly, in the business of an operator licensed under this chapter.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 4224 §9, 1980; Ord. 3368 §9, 1966).

5.72.130 Enforcement – Notice of appeal – Hearing

The Director, through the division of licenses and standards of his office, shall enforce this chapter with the assistance of the chief of police. If the Director finds that any licensee has violated or failed to comply with any provision of this chapter, he shall make a written record of such finding, and shall specify therein the particulars and he may revoke or suspend the license for a period to be fixed by him, in which event the license shall be surrendered to the Director and cancelled by him in case of revocation, or returned to the licensee on expiration of the period of suspension; provided, however, such revocation for violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall not relieve the licensee of the penalties provided in Section 5.72.140. Any licensee whose license is revoked or suspended shall have the right to appeal to the City Council from such revocation or suspension by filing with the Director a written notice within five days after the entry of the order of revocation or suspension. The notice of appeal shall specify an address at which the licensee may be given notice of hearing on the appeal. The City Council shall hear the appeal, or may refer the same to a committee for hearing. At the hearing the licensee shall be entitled to appear in person and offer evidence pertinent to the revocation or suspension; and the Director shall likewise be entitled to be heard at the hearing and offer evidence in support of his order of revocation or suspension. The City Council shall determine by resolution whether the revocation or suspension shall be sustained, and its action in that respect shall be final and conclusive. From the time of filing the written notice of appeal until the hearing and action by the City Council, the order of the Director of revocation or suspension shall be ineffective.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 3368 §10, 1966).

5.72.140 Violations – Misdemeanor – Gross misdemeanor – Civil infraction

A.    Any person, firm, or corporation who knowingly violates or fails to comply with any term or provision of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a misdemeanor, and if found guilty, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000), and/or to imprisonment not to exceed ninety (90) days or to both such fine and imprisonment. Each day shall be a separate offense. In the event of a continuing violation or failure to comply, the second and subsequent days shall constitute a gross misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) and/or imprisonment not to exceed three hundred and sixty-five (365) days or both such time and imprisonment. Continuing violation shall mean the same type of violation which is committed within a year of the initial violation.

B.    As an additional concurrent penalty, it shall be a civil infraction for a person, firm, or corporation to violate or fail to comply with any term or provision of this chapter. Each day shall be a separate infraction. A person, firm, or corporation found to have committed a civil infraction shall be assessed a monetary penalty as follows:

1.    First offense: Class 3 ($50), not including statutory assessments.

2.    Second offense arising out of the same facts as the first offense: Class 2 ($125), not including statutory assessments.

3.    Third offense arising out of the same facts as the first offense: Class 1 ($250), not including statutory assessments.

See also OMC Chapter 4.44, Uniform Civil Enforcement.

(Ord. 6694 §17, 2010; Ord. 6081 §18, 2001; Ord. 3368 §14, 1966).