Chapter 5.80


5.80.010    Definitions.

5.80.020    Licensing provisions.

5.80.030    When vehicle may be impounded.

5.80.040    Method of impounding.

5.80.050    Removal of disabled vehicle.

5.80.060    Defective vehicle – Impounding.

5.80.070    Notice to impound – Authority of contractor.

5.80.080    Notice to owner of impoundment.

5.80.090    Redemption of vehicle.

5.80.100    Payment of charges – City not liable.

5.80.110    Records of impounded vehicles.

5.80.120    Abandoned vehicles.

5.80.130    Contract for towing and storage.

5.80.140    Contractor – Bond and insurance.

5.80.150    Impounding not to prevent prosecution.

5.80.160    Adoption of rules and regulations.

5.80.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) “Contractor” means the operator of the towing and storage service with whom the city has an existing and effective contract, pursuant to this chapter, for the towing and storage services necessary to the operation of this chapter. This term may include more than one individual, firm or corporation who have formed a joint venture or similar association to operate the towing and storage services provided for by this chapter.

(2) “Vehicle” means any motor-driven conveyance used to transport persons and/or goods and, in addition, shall include the remains of any vehicle so long as identification can be made. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 2, 1981).

5.80.020 Licensing provisions.

The city shall grant a towing license to a qualified applicant who has filed the application and information required by the director of finance and who has otherwise complied with this chapter upon the payment by the applicant of an annual license fee and the posting with the city of a good and sufficient bond which has been approved by the director of finance as to sufficiency and as to the form by the city attorney. The annual license fee shall be $50.00. The towing license is in addition to a general business license that may be required under Chapter 5.04 PMC.

The bond or other security satisfactory to the city manager shall be in the amount of $10,000, which shall be conditioned upon the performance by any licensee of the terms of the license and to the rules and regulations promulgated by the city manager, and further conditioned to hold the city harmless from any act or omission of said licensee while engaged as a towing operator as defined in this chapter. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 1, 1981).

5.80.030 When vehicle may be impounded.

Any vehicle parked, angle-parked, standing, or otherwise so used as to endanger any user or potential user of any street or way open to the public, or used in violation of the traffic code, is declared to be a nuisance, which may be summarily abated by the impounding and removal of the vehicle as provided in this chapter. Any vehicle which is stolen, or the retention of which is required by the police department for evidence or investigation, or which is occupied or unattended and in the judgment of any police officer in danger of being stripped or stolen, or any wrecked and unattended vehicle may be impounded and removed as hereinafter provided. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 3, 1981).

5.80.040 Method of impounding.

No vehicle shall be impounded under provisions of this chapter except under the direction of an authorized police officer of the city as herein provided. Where such officer impounds an unattended vehicle because it is used in violation of the traffic code, he must first attach to such vehicle a traffic violation ticket. In all other cases where the police department has ordered a vehicle to be held for investigative, evidentiary, or other purposes of such department, the officer must attach to each impounded vehicle an impounding ticket prepared by him and signed by the contractor as witness thereto, indicating the reason for impounding, the location from which removed, and whether such location is private or public property, and the time of removal. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 4, 1981).

5.80.050 Removal of disabled vehicle.

Whenever any vehicle becomes stalled, disabled, or unable to move under its own power on or in any public facility, such as streets, roads or highway, in the city, including tunnels, bridges, or approaches thereto or sections thereof, and such an occurrence has been deemed by the authority having police jurisdiction as being a menace or obstruction to the safety of the general public, such police authority shall have the power and is authorized to remove said disabled vehicle forthwith by either private or governmental equipment, and such vehicle removed may be impounded and held until towing charges have been paid by the owner thereof. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 5, 1981).

5.80.060 Defective vehicle – Impounding.

(1) Any vehicle operating upon the streets of this city and at any time found to be defective in equipment in such a manner that it may be considered unsafe is an unlawful vehicle and may be prevented from further operation until the equipment defect is corrected, and any peace officer may impound such vehicle until it has been placed in a condition satisfactory to vehicle inspection. The necessary cost of impounding an unlawful vehicle and any cost for the storage and keeping thereof shall be paid by the owner thereof. The impounding of a vehicle shall be in addition to any penalties for such unlawful operation.

(2) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prevent the operation of any such defective vehicle to a place for correction of equipment defects in the manner directed by any peace officer or representative of the State Commission on Equipment. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 6, 1981).

5.80.070 Notice to impound – Authority of contractor.

The police officer ordering impounding shall immediately notify the contractor for towing and impounding such vehicles of the location of the same. Such contractor shall thereupon be authorized to seize such vehicle and remove it to a garage or proper storage place which has been approved for such purposes by the city police department, the department of public works, and the fire department. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 7, 1981).

5.80.080 Notice to owner of impoundment.

Upon receiving custody of a vehicle impounded pursuant to this chapter the contractor shall comply with the requirements of RCW 46.52.111 relating to the notice of impoundment to the legal and registered owners of such vehicle. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 8, 1981).

5.80.090 Redemption of vehicle.

(1) Vehicles impounded under this chapter shall be released by the contractor from the impounding garage to the owner upon:

(a) Payment to the contractor of accrued towing and storage charges;

(b) Furnishing of satisfactory evidence to such contractor of the claimant’s identity as the registered owner of the impounded vehicle or, if the registered owner is in police custody, written permission for release to the claimant signed by the registered owner with the signature authenticated by an officer of the city police department; and

(c) Execution of a receipt acknowledging delivery of the vehicle; provided, that no vehicle ordered by the chief of police to be held for police custody shall be released by the contractor without written permission of said chief. As a condition to providing such written permission for release, the chief of police may require that a claimant file with the director of finance a surety bond executed by a company authorized to do business in the state approved as to the amount and sufficiency of surety by the city manager, and as to form by the city attorney, conditioned to defend and save the city and the contractor harmless on account of the delivery of such vehicle to the claimant.

(2) Receipts for towing and storage payments, approved as to form by the city manager and the chief of police, shall be issued by the contractor to each claimant. Signed copies of such receipts shall be available for the inspection of the chief of police. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 9, 1981).

5.80.100 Payment of charges – City not liable.

All towing and hauling and storage charges on each vehicle impounded pursuant to this chapter shall be paid by the owner thereof if said vehicle is redeemed. In no event shall the city be liable for any such charge, and the owner of each storage place approved as a vehicle pound pursuant to this chapter, by accepting appointment as such, shall be considered as so stipulating. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 10, 1981).

5.80.110 Records of impounded vehicles.

(1) The police department and the contractor shall each keep a record of all vehicles impounded pursuant to this chapter, listing each by descriptive items such as manufacturer’s trade name or make, state registration number, state license number, or such other descriptive matter as may identify said vehicle. Such records shall also indicate for each vehicle the date on which it was impounded, and the reason it was impounded. In addition to the above records, the contractor shall record with respect to each impounded vehicle the final disposition thereof, the date on which said vehicle was released, and the identity of the person to whom it was released.

(2) The chief of police shall have the authority to inspect at any reasonable time all records kept by the contractors as required hereunder. Copies of all records maintained hereunder shall be available for the inspection of the city manager, members of the city council, and other appropriate officials of the city. The contractor shall include all information required by this section in a monthly report to be filed with the city clerk on or before the fifth day of each month. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 11, 1981).

5.80.120 Abandoned vehicles.

When any vehicle impounded pursuant to the provisions of this chapter is an “abandoned vehicle” or an “abandoned vehicle hulk,” as those terms are defined in Sections 7 and 8 of Chapter 42, Laws of 1969, 1st Ex. Session (RCW 46.52.111 and 46.52.112), disposal of such vehicle shall be in the manner provided for in Sections 7 and 8 of Chapter 42, Laws of 1969, 1st Ex. Session (RCW 46.52.111 and 46.52.112). (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 12, 1981).

5.80.130 Contract for towing and storage.

(1) The city police department, department of public works, and fire department are authorized and directed to prepare contract specifications which shall be subject to the approval of the city council and city manager, and to enter into a contract in accordance with the specifications so approved for towing and storage service necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. The contract for both towing and storage of vehicles pursuant to this chapter shall be awarded to the same contractor. The specifications and contract shall contain such provisions as the police department, department of public works, and the fire department deem advisable which are not in conflict with this chapter. The police department shall file a written statement with the city finance department giving the name and address of the contractor for towing and storage of vehicles and the name and address or location of each storage place.

(2) In order to be eligible for this contract, an applicant must receive a certification from an appropriate official of the city that such applicant is or will be able to supply the minimum equipment and storage facilities required by this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted hereunder. Under the terms of the contract into which the city shall enter pursuant to this chapter, the city shall be entitled to terminate said contract upon a material breach by the contractor of the terms and conditions thereof. The city may enter into a contract with more than one contractor at the same time. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 13, 1981).

5.80.140 Contractor – Bond and insurance.

Anyone awarded a contract for towing and storage under the provisions of this chapter shall, at the time of executing a contract therefor and before the same becomes effective, file with the city finance department a bond in the penal sum of $10,000 executed by the contractor as principal, and by a surety company authorized to do business as such in the state as surety, approved as to form by the city attorney and as to the sufficiency of surety the city manager, and conditioned that the contractor will faithfully perform all his duties under said contract and will indemnify the owners of impounded vehicles against any loss of or injury to their vehicles, or any article attached to or contained therein, while in his custody. The contractor shall also carry any insurance deemed necessary by the city finance department to protect the city against any and all liability for towing, impounding, storing, or leasing vehicles and to indemnify the owners thereof against loss or injury to the same or any article attached to or contained therein while in his custody. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 14, 1981).

5.80.150 Impounding not to prevent prosecution.

The impounding of a vehicle under this chapter shall not prevent or preclude the institution and prosecution of criminal proceedings in the appropriate court of law, charging the violator with any violation of law on account of which such vehicle was impounded. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 15, 1981).

5.80.160 Adoption of rules and regulations.

The city council is authorized to adopt by resolution such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 3164 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1868 § 16, 1981).