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Traffic Q&A: With the Beaverton Police Dept

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Q: Is it legal to turn left into the Safeway parking lot facing west on Allen Blvd just before Murray Blvd even though there’s a double-double yellow line?

A: You may make the turn as long as you are not passing cars in order to make the turn. You cannot cross over the yellow lines and pass cars that are backed up in order to make the turn.


 

Q: Can I make a U-turn at major intersections that are not marked with a “No U-turn” sign?

A: U-turns are not allowed at light controlled intersections unless there is signage permitting it.


 

Q: If I’m driving down Murray Blvd and a bus going the opposite direction stops and puts out its stop sign, do I need to stop even with an island in the middle separating traffic? What about if it’s an emergency vehicle on the other side of the island?

A: While travelling in the opposite direction you are not required to stop as long as there is a raised barrier or island. You are required to yield to the emergency vehicle (pull to the right and stop) because the emergency vehicle may have to travel in your lane.


 

Q: I know that talking or texting while driving is now illegal, but what if I’m stopped at a red light. Can I make a quick call as long as I hang up before the light turns red?

A: The answer is ‘no’ as long as they are on a public road it would be illegal. They would have to pull over to the shoulder.


 

Q: Turning Right on a Red Light Question: I’m stopped at the red light facing North at the intersection of Murray and Farmington. I know it’s okay to turn right when traffic is clear but what if I’m the second car back and the car ahead of me is going straight. Is it legal for me to squeeze by the car ahead of me if there is space to do so and make the right hand turn?

A: The second car may make a right hand turn under those circumstances as long as he/she does not leave the paved portion of the road and they don’t drive in a designated bike lane in order to make that turn. As you can tell a great deal is dependent on exactly where the first car in line stops.


 

Q: I’m stopped in a left hand turn lane showing a red arrow but change my mind and want to continue straight ahead. If the road is clear and the light is still green, can I merge into the lane to my right and go straight?

A: You can’t go straight because you would have had to signal the lane change for at least 100 feet before you did it and one could argue that once you are in the left turn lane you are committed to making that turn.


 

Q: I really like the look of the new patrol cars but how do you determine which officers get to drive them. Is it seniority or just assigned?

A: Choice of cars is almost always determined by seniority.


 

Q: How many signals have the photo radar on them and where are they located?

A: Red light photo intersections are located at: Hwy 10 and Griffith, Scholls Ferry Rd and SW Hall, SW Allen and Lombard and Cedar Hills Blvd and SW Walker Rd. There is equipment installed at 158 and Walker but it is not hooked up.


 

Q: There’s a car at the end of my street with a flat tire and it’s been there for over a month. How many days do I have to wait in order for this car to be considered abandoned and who do I call to get it removed? Any tow company or the police?

A: If you are in the City of Beaverton call the Code Compliance office at 526-2270 to report the abandoned auto. They have a process they follow to have the vehicle eventually towed if necessary. You would have to call the sheriff’s department if you are in an unincorporated area.


 

Q: I was waiting to turn right (East) onto Farmington from Hall Blvd and when the light turned green, a family started to cross from the other side of the street. The three cars in front of me all rushed to make the turn in front of the family crossing. Is this legal or should they have waited for the family to cross entirely and turn only when they reach the other side?

A: Motorists must give the pedestrians one lane plus six feet. If three cars got through before the distancing issues were in effect so be it.


 

Q: When turning right or left from Hall Blvd onto Farmington for example, and there’s a person about cross, do I have to wait for them to fully cross the road or can I turn in front of them?

A: When turning at Hall and Farmington the driver must give the pedestrian one and a half lanes of clearance.


 

Q: While on SW Murray Blvd. between Millikan Way and Farmington Road I noticed a lot of people using the safety zone median strip to pass other cars in order to get in the left turn pocket. Is that legal?

A: Passing in a no passing zone under ORS 811-420 is considered to have occurred if a person drives a vehicle to the left of the roadway against a “Solid Yellow Line” on the pavement for more than the last 100 feet prior to making a turn. Although the “continuous left turn lane” may look like a legal lane of travel, it is not.


 

Q: Is a driver allowed to have a pet on their lap while driving even though it’s dangerous for both?

A: There is no specific law in Oregon that states “no dog on the lap while operating a vehicle”. The applicable violation would be 815.270 “Operating vehicle that is loaded or equipped to obstruct driver”. This violation has to do with a driver’s ability to drive without being hindered or encumbered. In more extreme cases, such as a motor vehicle crash, Careless Driving 811.135 may be the definitive violation.


 

Q: There’s a strange signal at the fire station on Farmington Rd near Beaverton High School. It has 3 red lights that stay on for a while then flash. I haven’t noticed this new signal at other fire stations so what is it and why was it installed? Also, must cars stay stopped even then its flashing?

A: This is a new type of traffic signal and has been used successfully to increase motorist awareness at high traffic volume, midblock crosswalks in other cities around the country. It is a “HAWK” or High-intensity Activated crosswalk signal. While the lights are solid red the motorist must stop and stay stopped. Once the lights go to a flashing red the motorist must come to a complete stop but may proceed when the pedestrian has cleared the crosswalk.


 

Q: If I change my mind half way through a lane change, can I go back to my original lane or do I need to complete the lane change then go back to my original lane?

A: You must make (2) legal lane changes in order for it to pass muster with the law. That means proper signaling at the proper distances to make both moves. You can’t change your mind in the middle of a lane change.


 

Q : Is it legal to change lanes in the middle of an intersection?

A: No lane changes can take place in the middle of an intersection.


 

Q: From time to time I see cars and trucks double-park when loading or unloading. The ones who do it the most are moving trucks and delivery trucks so do they have a special permit?

A: Each jurisdiction have their own set of rules. In Portland it is not only possible but required to get a permit when such temporary parking is needed. In Beaverton it would be illegal under most circumstances to “double-park” within the public right of way. The reality of the situation is that we know this type of observed parking takes place and rarely is enforcement action taken unless the disruption is substantial and unavoidable. Common sense is the key here.


 

Q: Is failure to use your turn signals illegal or just impolite?

ORS 811.395, 400 and 405 deal with definition of and use of signaling devices whether it be hands or mechanical. It is not an issue of etiquette, it’s the law.


 

Q: How are posted speed limits determined because they seem inconsistent throughout the city?

A: There are a multitude of factors that are taken into consideration. How the street is classified whether it is a residential street, collector or arterial. The geography of the street such as grade, curves, width, number of businesses or driveways. A speed study may be done if needed and if it is a county road or state Highway, they will have some say. Hall Blvd. is a good example in that it is 40 mph in some areas and 20 in others.


 

Q: I use my cell phone’s navigation system to find my way around town. Is it legal for me to hold the phone in my hand while using it as a map?

A: No, you cannot “hold” your handheld mobile communication device to use any of its features (ie. your GPS mapping system) while driving your car, including when you are stopped at a red light. Holding the phone while using the speaker phone is also a violation (ORS811.507).


 

Q: Sometimes when I see cars pulled over by a police vehicle, they are stopped in no parking areas like the bike lane on Murray Blvd causing cars to swing wide around them. My question is when the police pull over a car, should the car pull over immediately regardless of where they are or should they continue until they reach the first safe legal area to pull over, like a parking lot or side street?

A: That is a tough one since we are told to pull over immediately when the emergency lights are turned on. My traffic sergeant says that if the driver signals for a turn and drives a reasonable distance to pull over in a parking lot or side street, it’s probably OK if it’s not too far. Slow down, signal and/or turn on emergency lights to show officer that you acknowledge his/her presence.


 

Q: When I see a Sheriff’s police car driving on Beaverton streets, are they passing through or are they actually on patrol?

A: Calls are generated based on where the incident took place. Beaverton Police would generally manage calls that occurred in the city and Sheriff’s personnel would be responsible for those incidents within the unincorporated area: Follow-up to those calls could cause the BPD Officer to travel outside the city and for a Deputy to come into the city. Traffic enforcement in the city could be done by BPD people, Sheriff’s Deputies or State Troopers since law enforcement personnel have statewide jurisdiction. Travelling through Beaverton to go on a call or stop at the East Precinct on SW Murray Blvd. is also a possibility.


 

Q: Is it legal to have blue lights (ie; fog lights) illuminated on the front or back of a vehicle driving on a public roadway?

A: No, you may not have blue lights. The appropriate two statutes (ORS 816.360 and 816.350) working in concert only allow emergency vehicles (police and fire) to display blue lights.


 

Q: Is it legal for two motorcycles to ride in the same lane side by side or two abreast?

A: Yes, it’s okay for two motorcycles to share the same lane but no more than two (ORS 814.250).


 

Q: When encountering a red light and I want to turn right at the intersection, do I have to stop completely?

A: Unless the traffic control device authorizes otherwise (ie. green arrow), you must come to a complete stop (cease movement) before safely making your right hand turn.


 

Q: When a Police Officer stops a vehicle, why are they so concerned about where and how quickly the vehicle pulls over?

A: Stopping cars can be one of the most routine and dangerous activities an officer can do. For that reason, the location of the stop is anticipated by the officer with his and your safety in mind. Sometimes a driver will continue on in an attempt to choose a safer spot but this only negatively impacts the process, requiring the officer to engage in more radio exchanges with dispatch. So pull over as soon as possible and let the officer change the stop location if he/she desires.


 

Q: As a conservative driver, when making a left turn onto a four-lane highway (ie. Farmington West to Murray South), I would prefer to just go to the right lane so no one is on my rear bumper trying to pass. Am I correct that I have to go into that nearest left lane first?

A: Your assumption is correct and it doesn’t matter if you are turning right or left onto a multi-lane roadway you must turn into the lane nearest the direction you are proceeding. If you desire to change lanes then rules of distance and signaling apply.


 

Q: Is it OK to cut through a gas station or parking lot in order to avoid having to wait at a crowded red light?

A: Beaverton specifically prohibits crossing private property to avoid an intersection but there is no statute statewide.


 

Q: When in a shopping center parking lot, I often see cars take a short cut through empty spaces, (sometimes between two parked cars!) and this seem awfully dangerous. Is it illegal too?

A: Yes and no. Shopping center parking lots are what the law describes as “Premises Open to the Public.” As such, there are only certain statutes that can be enforced on the property. There is no statute that specifically addresses the driving described here. However, one statue that can be enforced on Premises Open to the Public, and generally covers the driving described, is Carless Driving (ORS 811.135). Careless Driving is defined as: driving “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.” So, depending on the circumstances, a driver could be cited for Careless Driving for taking that short cut through empty spaces if doing so endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property (i.e. causes a crash).


 

Q: My husband insists on eating his breakfast in the car on the way to work every morning. Can he be pulled over for this?

A: There is not a specific statute to address this. However, there are two statutes that generally address this. The first is Careless Driving (ORS 811.135), which is defined as driving “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.” In this instance, if eating breakfast contributes to a crash, a Careless Driving citation is appropriate. The second statute is Operating a Vehicle that is Loaded or Equipped to Obstruct the Driver (ORS 815.270), which is defined as driving a vehicle “that is loaded or equipped or where baggage or an encumbrance does any of the following: Substantially obstructs the driver’s views to the rear, through one or more mirrors and otherwise; Obstructs the driver’s view to the front or sides; Interferes with control of the driving mechanism; Prevents the free, unhampered operation of the vehicle by the driver.” If your husband’s culinary custom keeps him from controlling the vehicle, he could be stopped and issued a citation.


 

Q: The other day I saw a car get stuck in the intersection when the light turned red. He couldn’t go forward because the traffic was backed up so he backed up instead. When is it legal to drive backwards on a city road?

A: You actually witness two separate violations in this one event. First, according to ORS 811.290 (Obstructing Cross Traffic), a vehicle may not “enter the intersection or marked crosswalk when there is not sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or marked crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians.” Secondly, ORS 811.480 (Illegal Backing) prohibits “back[ing] a vehicle the person is driving when it is not safe to do so or when it causes interference with other traffic…” While there is some subjectivity in the Illegal Backing statute, it is difficult to argue that driving in reverse – when all of the other traffic on the road is going forward – does not interfere with other traffic or is safe. Ultimately, had the driver not committed the violation of Obstructing Cross Traffic, he wouldn’t have needed to drive in reverse in the first place.


 

Q: It drives me crazy when people drive with their high beams on. Do the police pull cars over for this dangerous act?

A: Yes, officers will stop vehicles for violating ORS 811.520 (Unlawful Use or Failure to Use Lights.) This statues references ORS 811.515 (Lighting Requirements), which lists all lighting requirements for vehicle. As it pertains to the use of the high beams, 811.515 (6)(a) states: “Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver must use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The use of the low beams of the vehicle headlight system is in compliance with this paragraph…” ORS 811.515 (6)(b) states: “Except when in the act of overtaking or passing, a driver of a vehicle following another vehicle within 350 feet to the rear must use the low beams of the vehicle headlight system.”


 

Q: I always feel guilty when making a left hand turn into the Safeway parking lot from Allen Blvd because the left turn area that everyone uses is so small and marked all around with double yellow lines. So my feeling is that we are all turning illegally but it’s overlooked by traffic officers because there is no other convenient way to enter that shopping center. Is this correct? Can I not feel guilty making this turn?

A: Good news! You don’t have to feel guilty. The double yellow lines at that location are there to indicate a “No Passing Zone.” While drivers may not drive through that area to pass other vehicles, according to ORS 811.420 (Passing in a No Passing Zone) a driver may “turn left into or from an alley, intersection, private road or driveway” from that area:


 

Q: When in a shopping center parking lot, I often see cars take a short cut through empty spaces, (sometimes between two parked cars!) and this seem awfully dangerous. Is it illegal too?

A: Yes and no. Shopping center parking lots are what the law describes as “Premises Open to the Public.” As such, there are only certain statutes that can be enforced on the property. There is no statute that specifically addresses the driving described here. However, one statue that can be enforced on Premises Open to the Public, and generally covers the driving described, is Carless Driving (ORS 811.135). Careless Driving is defined as: driving “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.” So, depending on the circumstances, a driver could be cited for Careless Driving for taking that short cut through empty spaces if doing so endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property (i.e. causes a crash).


 

Q: Are there skateboarding rules here in Oregon? Earlier today, I witnessed a skateboarder riding his skateboard on Scholls Ferry Rd literally on the road in traffic. I asked an officer I saw on duty but he couldn’t give me a satisfactory answer. Can you please give me some clarification on this issue?

A: ORS 814.600 requires that persons under 16 wear protective headgear when riding on roads or in public parking lots. By definition a skateboard is a “vehicle” which means a skateboarder is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle. It would appear that riding a skateboard on the roadway is not illegal but the rider must obey applicable traffic laws which could cause some actions to violate the motor vehicle code as it would with most modes of transportation.


 

Q: I see cyclists using the left hand turn lane riding alongside cars until they make the turn and then go back to their bike lane. Is this legal?

A: Cyclists are able to use the left hand turn lane as long as standard lane usage rules are adhered to.


 

Q: Having buses stop at train tracks seem to be common in all states. Is it a federal law? It also seems unnecessary at time like on the unused portion of tracks that crosses Western Ave. Is there any movement to repeal or modify this law?

A: It is a federal law and we have heard of no pending attempts to change or modify it. The “cargo”, in this case, kids, would make the modification of such laws very unpopular.


 

Q: Generally speaking, is it okay to ask questions to police officers when they are on duty but not engaged in another activity?

A: Yes, it would normally not be a problem but you can’t always tell if an officer is engaged. He/she may be waiting for someone or observing some activity. We suggest the following: “Do you have a moment to answer a question?”


 

Q: When two cars get in an accident and there is a witness, whose responsibility is it to get the witness’s contact information and statement? And if an officer shows up later, is that a task that they will perform as part of their duty?

A: If the collision is to be investigated and the officer knows there is a witness, it is the officer’s responsibility to collect this information. If, prior to police arrival, a witness approaches you and claims to have seen the whole thing, it would be a good idea to note their name and a phone number and give it to police. When police arrive on scene they will generally attempt to determine fault which may include interviewing witnesses if they can be located and identified.


 

Q: Does the Beaverton Police Dept. have any educational programs or tours for kids to learn about what the police do?

A: Tours of the PD can be arranged through the Volunteer Coordinators office. Limited educational opportunities are offered through the departments School Resource Officers.


 

Q: Would an off duty police officer pull over a drunk driver or other traffic offense or would he call it in and have an on duty police officer do it?

A: For practical reasons (safety not being the least), an off-duty police officer would generally call in a violation to an on duty person to enforce the law.


 

Q: When there is a flashing yellow left-hand-turn arrow at an intersection (like along Murray Blvd), is it okay to pull into the middle when waiting for oncoming traffic to clear?

ORS 811.260 (12) Flashing circular yellow signal. When a driver approaches a flashing circular yellow light used as a signal in a traffic control device or with a traffic sign, the driver may proceed through the intersection or past the signal only with caution.

(8) Steady red arrow signal. A driver facing a steady red arrow signal, alone or in combination with other signal indications, may not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the red arrow signal. Unless entering the intersection to make some other movement which is permitted by another signal, a driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, then before entering the intersection. The vehicle shall remain stopped until a green light is shown except when the driver is permitted to make a turn.

In other words…You may enter the intersection on a flashing yellow but if the light turns red while in the intersection, you are in violation of ORS 811.265


 

Q: When a Beaverton police officer arrests someone, do they take them to a jail in Beaverton or somewhere else?

A: Persons who are arrested and taken into custody are first brought to the Beaverton Police Station before taken to the Washington County Jail in Hillsboro.


 

Q: My mother is disabled and does not drive. There are times that I go to the store for her while she stays home. Because I’m shopping for her, can I use her permit to park in a disabled space?

A: (No) Oregon Revised Statute 811.625, “A person commits the offense of unlawful use of a disabled persons parking permit if the person is not a person with a disability and is not transporting the holder of a disabled person parking permit to or from the parking location; and uses a disabled person parking permit.”


 

Q: I have noticed that more and more cars are equipped with these super bright white headlights, sometimes in different colors. It sure makes driving more difficult when the on-coming vehicles use these lights. Are these headlights legal?

A: Although there is a section in the Oregon statute regarding headlight specifications (ORS 816.050), Oregon has adopted the Federal Department of Transportation’s definition which does indeed allow for many of these kinds of headlights. Use of high beams or having misaligned lights that would shine into oncoming traffic is enforceable under ORS811.520 and/or ORS816.300.


 

Q: I heard that jaywalking is only an offence if the nearest cross streets have signals like in a commercial district. But can one technically get a jaywalking ticket for walking across a residential street in a quiet neighborhood?

A: It’s possible. Part of ORS 814.040 (Failure to yield to vehicle) says “Pedestrian Fails to yield the right of way to a vehicle upon a roadway when the pedestrian is crossing the roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection”. Beaverton code 6.02.510 Pedestrian must use available crosswalk says “ No pedestrian shall cross a roadway outside of a marked crosswalk if within 150 feet of a marked crosswalk”.


 

Q: When stopped at a red light, I’ve seen people get out of the car to switch drivers or get something out of the trunk before the light turns green. This must be breaking some law, right?

A: Actually, there is no violation here unless the light turns green.


 

Q: Within a mile, Greenway Rd changes names to Brockman Rd, Beard Rd and finally Nora Rd. That’s the worst but even TV Hwy/Canyon gets confusing. Wouldn’t it make sense to stick to one name? Why so many changes?

I have been with the City for 17 years and those streets had the same name from when I started working for the City. It make sense to have one name for the whole length of the street but to give you an answer why the names are different requires researching the history and the significance for naming them. Some of these streets were built in the early seventies or before and many of the people who knew the history are not around anymore. (Answer provided by Jabra Khasho, City Traffic Engineer)


 

Q: I work for an elderly care facility and I transport the residences to the store, doctors’ appointments and activities. We have a disabled parking permit in the van I drive. My employer tells me that I can park in any disabled parking space even if I have no one with me. Is that true?

A: No. Oregon Revised Statute 811.630 says, “a person commits the offense of misuse of a disabled parking permit if the person is the driver of a vehicle that is being used as part of a program for the transportation of persons with disabilities; and uses a program placard for any purpose other than transporting a disabled person”.


 

Q Sometimes when I park on the street I find myself at the very end trying to squeeze just inside the parking sign (or markers). In order to not get a ticket, can any of my car stick out past the parking sign?

A: No. The design of each space is to accommodate the average sized car. When you exceed that space you are violating the letter and spirit of the parking rules. You are, however, at the mercy of the responding parking enforcement person and their discretion.


 

Q: When stopped by police and the officer asks for proof of insurance, does it have to be a paper version or can I pull it up on my smart phone? How about the drivers license?

A: Oregon state law specifically allows motorists to use smart phones or similar devices to show proof of insurance. The same option is NOT allowed for the drivers license, you must still carry and present the “real” thing.


 

Q: Of course it must be okay to back up in order to parallel park into a spot but I recently saw a car on Broadway go in reverse 5 car lengths in order to get an open spot. Is there a law stating how far a car can go backwards on a street?

A: The appropriate ORS is 811.480 Illegal backing and penalty. A person commits the offense of illegal backing if the person backs a vehicle the person is driving when it is not safe to do so or when it causes interference with other traffic upon a highway. (No distance is noted)


 

Q: Can a person park in front of a fire hydrant if the curb is not painted red or yellow?

A: (No) Oregon Revised Statute 811.550, It is illegal for a person to park, stop or leave standing a vehicle within 10 feet of a fire hydrant.


 

Q: What controls the timing of traffic signals? I was at a light that turned green then after 2 cars went through went right back to yellow. It was way too fast for what that signal normally does. What gives?

Every traffic signal has a time set for the signal to go through a complete cycle that serves each movement around the intersection. Each movement has a set minimum and maximum green time out of the cycle time. If the signal detects a vehicle on one of the approaches, it will serve the minimum green and then it will start extending the green past the minimum time as cars start going over the detector. Each time a vehicle goes over the detector the signal will increase the green time incrementally until it reaches the maximum green for that movement. The detector also has a timer that if it does not detect any vehicle within this time (gap time) the signal indication will change to serve the next movement in the cycle. The signal turned yellow for this person could have been due to starting late and reaching the detector past the gap time or a malfunctioning detector.

(Answer provided by Jabra Khasho, City Traffic Engineer)


 

Q: Can you get a ticket for driving too slow? And if so, how slow is too slow?

A: Yes, you can be cited for driving too slow. The law does not assign a numerical value to how slow your vehicle speed would have to be to get cited but it does provide, under ‘ORS 811.130 Impeding Traffic’, some rules to follow. It states simply that you cannot impede or block the normal or reasonable flow of traffic. This offense is a class D violation and the presumptive fine is set at $110.


 

Q: If I get pulled over for a ticket, is it okay for me to ask the police officer for his name and badge number?

A: Yes.


 

Q: I’ve seen cars parked on the wrong side of the street which means they had face oncoming traffic to get there! Can they get a ticket if a patrol car comes by?

A: Yes, they can be cited under ‘ORS 811.570, Improperly Positioning a Parallel Parked Vehicle’. This law states that on a two-way road, vehicles must be parked so the right-hand wheels are parallel to and whining 12 inches of the right curb or edge. This offense is a class D violation and the presumptive fine is set at $110.


 

Q: There is a car in our neighborhood that has not moved in ages. Is there any law for how long a car can be parked on the side of the road without moving?

A: Yes, if it is classified as “abandoned” (an abandoned vehicle is one left in circumstances demonstrating its owner never intends to return). A motor vehicle shall be deemed abandoned if it remains upon any street for a period in excess of 48 hours and the motor vehicle:

  • Reasonably appears incapable of self-propulsion; or
  • Does not display a current registration plate or a current trip permit; or
  • Is on a street and is not registered to a person at the address of property on the same side of the street that abuts the part of the street upon which the motor vehicle is located; or
  • Is on public property other than a street without the consent of the owner, occupant and any other person in lawful possession of the public property.

Note: Laws relative to abandoned vehicles outside the city may be different.


 

Q: Who would I contact to get a pot hole or other street damage fixed?

A: Contact the City of Beaverton Operation Dept. at 503-526-2220 to report any street maintenance.


 

Q: Is speeding up to get through a yellow light legal as long as my front tires enter the intersection before the light turns red?

A: No. Under ‘ORS 811.260, Appropriate Driver Responses to Traffic Control Devices’, a driver facing a steady circular yellow signal must do the following: The driver shall stop at the intersection. If a driver cannot stop in safety, the driver may drive cautiously through the intersection.


 

Q: I drive a delivery van and was told by a store manager that I could park in the striped space in front of the store. The space just left of the striped space is a disabled parking space. Is it legal for me to park in the striped space that is next to a disabled space?

A: (No) Oregon Revised Statute 811.615, “a person commits the offense of unlawful parking in a space reserved for persons with disabilities if the person parks a vehicle in the aisle regardless of whether or not the vehicle displays a disabled person parking permit”. Aisle spaces are the space next to a disabled space and are used for unloading wheelchairs from the side of a vehicle.


 

Q: Can a person park in a disabled parking space if there is no sign but just the symbol on the ground?

A: (No) Oregon Revised Statute 811.615 “A person commits the offense of unlawful parking in a space reserved for persons with disabilities if the person parks a vehicle in any parking space that is on private or public property and that is marked or signed to provide parking for persons with disabilities and the vehicle does not conspicuously display a disabled person parking permit”.


 

Q: My son broke his leg and is in a cast. Can I pull into a disabled parking space and just drop him off?

A: (Yes) Oregon Revised Statute 811.615(2a): Momentarily parking a vehicle in a parking space marked or signed for persons with disabilities for the purpose of allowing a person with a disability to enter or leave the vehicle is permitted.


 

Q: Are all yellow lights the same length in seconds?

A: The yellow change interval is set using a formula from the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE). The formula takes into account the posted speed and the grade of the street. On streets with different posted speeds the yellow time will be different. The higher the speed, the longer the yellow time. Also if the intersection is on steep grade the yellow time at that intersection will be longer than other intersections on a flat grade with the same posted speed limit.


 

Q: My friend wants to modify his car, a sedan, so that he can remove the doors, hood and trunk in the summer time, as if he were in a strange looking jeep. Is any part of this illegal?

A: Yes its legal. The only requirements is that you have seat belts and windshield wipers.


 

Q: At what cross street does Canyon Rd officially change to TV Hwy? Is it the same for Farmington Rd and Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy?

A: Canyon Rd and TV Hwy officially change names at SW Hocken. East is Canyon Rd and West is TV Hwy. Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy changes to Farmington Rd at Lombard Ave.


 

Q: Every day I see people park their car on the wrong side of the street. My friends says that it’s OK to do that. Is it?

A: (No) Oregon Revised Statute 811.570, “A person commits the offense of improperly positioning a parallel parked vehicle if the person stops or parks a vehicle on any street where parallel parking is permitted and the vehicle is not parked in accordance with the following: Upon a two-way street, the vehicle shall be positioned so that the right-hand wheels are parallel to and within 12 inches of the right curb”.


 

Q: The place where you attach the license plate in the rear of my car is broken. Can I just tape the plate to the rear window?

A: As long as the plates are in plain view so as to be read easily by the public, then the plates can be attached anywhere on the rear of the vehicle (ORS 803.540).


 

Q: Is it illegal to “peel out”?

Yes. According to ORS 815.025 (Causing unreasonable noise with a vehicle), a person commits the offense if they operate a motor vehicle so as to cause any greater noise or sound than is reasonably necessary for the proper operation of the vehicle.


 

Q: I don’t understand Jaywalking? Of course I can cross my neighborhood street anywhere but at what size of street do I have to use a crosswalk or get a ticket?

The rule is that if you are within 150 feet of a marked crosswalk then you must use that crosswalk (ORS 6.02.510). Otherwise, you may cross the street but it must be at a right angle (ORS 6.02.520).


 

Q: Hall Blvd has two lanes, both ways, with a separate left turn lane controlled by a light. Is it lawful for a bicycle rider to use the left turn lane to negotiate a left turn or are they required to use the pedestrian crossing and abide by the pedestrian signals?

A: Bicycle Riders must follow the same laws as motor vehicles (ORS 814.400).


 

Q: Is it unlawful for a motorcyclist to stand up, like in an off road riding position, while riding on the street?

A: Yes. A motorcyclist must sit with one leg on each side of the seat, facing forward and without any articles that prevents the rider from keeping both hands on the handlebars (ORS 814.200)


 

Q My grandmother who drives extremely cautious stops a half a car length or more behind the white stripe at a stop sign. Then when she goes, it almost feels like she is running the stop sign and could get a ticket even though she came to a full stop. Could she get a ticket?

A: According to ORS 811.260, your grandmother can stop at any point so long as she has a view of approaching traffic on the intersection roadway before entering it.


 

Q: Is there a law or statute on blinker speed in Oregon? In other words, can I be pulled over and ticketed for the turn signal on my car blinking too fast?

A: There is no speed limit on blinker speed. However, if your blinker starts blinking fast, either your light bulb is burning out or your flasher is malfunctioning. Either way, you can be stopped and ticketed for not having a working blinker (ORS. 816.330 Operation without required lighting equipment). So if this is happening to you, get it checked out.


 

Q: I saw a pickup with some really long poles sticking out the back the other day, maybe 8-10 feet past the tailgate. There was a red flag but the poles sagged so much they almost touched the ground! Is there a limit to length or as long as there is a red flag, it doesn’t matter?

A: Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS 815.275 Failure to mark end of load with light or flag when required) states that if the load extends to the rear over 4 feet from the bed or body of the vehicle it must be marked.  It must be marked with end load lights at night or during limited visibility.  During the day you can use a red flag that is not less than 12 inches square. If the vehicle is unsafe to operate because of the load, you could be issued a citation for Operation of Unsafe Vehicle (815.020).  If the load falls off you could be cited for Operating with a Sifting or Leaking Load (ORS 818.300).  So ORS doesn’t put a limit to length, but it still has to be safe.  In your example above, if the driver went over a bump and the poles scraped the ground I could state several reasons that would be unsafe.  I don’t have to wait for it to scrape on the ground. I just have to show it would be likely to do so.


 

Q: I assume it’s okay to drive on private property without a seat belt. So if a shopping center parking lot is private property, can I leave my seat belt off as long as I don’t go on to a public street?

A: There is a difference between private property and premises open to the public.  Shopping centers allow the general public to operate their vehicles on their private property, so the parking lots become premises open to the public. Several traffic laws are enforceable on premises open to the public. You still need to have a license to drive there, you must have insurance, and you can’t drive carelessly or intoxicated.  However, the seatbelt law (ORS 811.210) is not enforceable on premises open to the public.


 

Q: Are all traffic laws the same throughout Oregon or can Beaverton have special rules that may not apply to Tigard for example?

A: Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) are state laws that are enforceable anywhere in Oregon. Many cities also have City Codes that are enforceable in that city but not in others. For example, many cities enforce cutting across the street not at an intersection (Jay Walk) under city code. Beaverton, like other cities, also has a City Code that states you cannot drive through a private business to avoid having to wait for red light. So if you want to make a right turn at the upcoming intersection and you decide to drive through a parking lot on the corner to avoid having to wait, in Beaverton that could cost you $205.


 

Q: Does the open container law pertain to all beverages or just alcoholic beverages?

A: ORS 811.170 Violation of Open Container law, refers only to Alcoholic liquor.


 

Q: If you come to a light that has a red right hand turn arrow but no posted sign, is it okay to still turn after stopping or does it mean no turning until the light changes?

A: It is okay to make a right turn at a red arrow (ORS 811.260: Appropriate driver responses to traffic control devices subsection (8) Steady red arrow signal). The vehicle shall remain stopped until a green light is shown except when the driver is permitted to make a turn under ORS 811.360: When vehicle turn permitted at stop light. The driver of a vehicle who is intending to turn at an intersection where there is a traffic control device showing a steady red arrow signal may do any of the following without violating ORS 811.260 and 811.265: (a) Make a right turn into a two-way street. (b) Make a right or left turn into a one-way street in the direction of traffic upon the one-way street.


 

Q: I came out of a friends place and my car wasn’t there and I thought it was stolen. A neighbor told me it was towed. Are tow companies supposed to leave a note or something or how would I know it wasn’t stolen? If this happens again, what should I do?

A: First, calls should be to the appropriate police jurisdiction. Tow companies must report private property impounds to the police so they can be entered into our computer as “towed”. Although there could be some time delays (cars must be towed to an impound lot, secured and then the driver reports it to police) so it may not happen right away. You may also want to check to see if there are any signs indicating the tow company for illegally parked cars and call that number.


 

Q: When there is an intersection with a YIELD sign for  turning right (ie. Scholls Ferry Rd west bound turning right to Murray Blvd north) and the signal is red , do I need treat the YIELD sign as a STOP sign or can I make the turn without stopping as long as it is safe?

A: Yield signs mean just that: yield to traffic before proceeding. There is no need to stop unless you are yielding to traffic that is close enough to be a concern.


 

Q: Does the police department own its own tow truck?

A: No, the BPD uses private tow companies.


 

Q: How many parking tickets can a car get before it is towed?

A: Violations alone don’t necessarily cause a car to be towed. Being abandoned or blocking traffic or arresting the driver or some other isolated incident may cause the tow.


 

Q: Can you mount rifles on the outside of your vehicle in Oregon?

A: Oregon has no State law against carrying a loaded handgun in your car as long as it’s : (a) Not concealed or (b) “Not readily accessible.” In short, there is no law against the gun being mounted on the outside of your vehicle. However, localities are allowed to regulate loaded firearms in “public places” which now includes your car. This only applies to people without CHL’s. So you need to check local regulations especially if you plan on driving through several different jurisdictions.


 

Q: My Husband likes to change lanes extremely fast like he does when he’s on his motorcycle. Can he be pulled over for this?

A: ORS 811.375, Unlawful or unsignaled change of lane states: (1) A person commits the offense of unlawful or unsignaled change of lanes if the person is operating a vehicle upon a highway and the person changes lanes by moving to the right or left upon the highway when: (a) The movement cannot be made with reasonable safety; or (b) The driver fails to give an appropriate signal continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before changing lanes. So in short, unless it can be determined that the lane change was reckless, the law does not address the speed of lane changing


 

Q: Is it illegal to drive with your interior cabin light on?

A: No (but at night, it may make it more difficult to see)


 

Q: 8 year old Alisa asks “what is the hardest thing about being a police officer? What do you like best?”

A (Officer DaNeshia Barkley): I would have to say the hardest part of my job is the shift work.  Police officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  On top of our scheduled work shift we sometimes have to stay much later to write reports or cover calls.  In addition we get subpoenaed to court and are required to attend training.  The more time spent at work, is less time we spend with our families.  The thing I love most about my job is meeting all different kinds of people.  I meet new people every day and get to learn different cultures.

A (Detective Jason Buelt): Alisa, I have been with the Beaverton Police Department for almost 16 years and I am currently assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division as a Detective.

The best thing I like about being a Detective/Police Officer is working as a team in order to find and catch the criminals. The hardest thing about being a Detective/Police Officer is the large investigations that can keep you at work for long periods of time.  These types of investigations can interfere with spending time with your family. Thanks for the question Alisa.


 

Q: My neighbor has a fancy car with a very loud engine, even when idling it rumbles. How loud does a car have to be before it becomes illegal?

A: “Loud” is very subjective. What is too loud to you may not be what is too loud to the person in the car. In fact, to them, it’s probably perfect. So to settle the matter, we must go to the letter of the law: (1) A person commits the offense of violation of use limits on sound equipment if the person does any of the following: (a) Uses upon a vehicle, any bell, siren, compression or exhaust whistle. (b) Uses a horn otherwise than as a reasonable warning or makes any unnecessary or unreasonably loud or harsh sound by means of a horn or other warning device.


 

Q: In downtown Beaverton, the street parking has white markers. Are these more of guidelines or can I get a parking ticket if my truck extends over the white lines?

A: Where parking space markings are placed on a street, no person shall park a vehicle other than in the indicated direction of the nearest lane of travel and, unless the size or shape of the vehicle makes compliance impossible, within a single marked space.


 

Q: When parallel parking on a street without white markers, what are the rules for this?

A: No person shall stand or park a vehicle in a street other than parallel with the edge of the roadway, headed in the direction of lawful traffic movement, and with the curbside wheels of the vehicle within 12 inches of the edge of the curb, except where the street is marked or signed for angle parking.


 

Q: In light of recent events involving excessive use of force by police in other states (ie. Ferguson), has Chief Spalding implemented any policies to ensure the BPD keeps the trust of the public here in Beaverton?

A: The incidents occurring in other states across the country are of great concern to me and the Beaverton Police Department.  Thankfully, we already have policies in place that speak to these issues and training is provided to our officers on a regular basis.  We are also working with a diverse groups of representatives from the Beaverton area to discuss these and other issues that affect our community.


 

Q: I have a motorized scooter. Do I have a choice of riding this on the sidewalk, bike lane or side of the street if it’s in a residential neighborhood?

A: A Motor Assisted Scooter is defined as having three wheels or less, handlebars and a seat or foot supports, being propelled by human power or a power source incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 24 mph on level ground.

  • A Motor Assisted Scooter may not be operated upon a sidewalk unless crossing the sidewalk when leaving an adjacent property. When crossing a sidewalk the motorized scooter must give right of way to users of the sidewalk and not place them in a dangerous position.
  • A Motor Assisted Scooter may only be ridden in a travel lane if, there is no available bike lane, and only on a street with a speed limit of 25 MPH or less. A Motor Assisted Scooter operator must ride on the right side of the road and as close as possible to the right shoulder or curb.
  • Additionally a Motor Assisted Scooter must not be ridden faster than 15 MPH. The scooter must be equipped with the same lights as required by bicycles under limited visibility conditions (dark, fog, smoke), red lights or reflectors to the rea, and white lights to the front.

 

Q: What is a Community Service Officer?

A: A Community Service Officers is a member of the BPD and their duties include the transport of prisoners, enforce parking regulations, provide court security, manage video arraignments, supervise the drug drop box and a plethora of other smaller duties. They have police authority and wear a uniform somewhat similar to patrol and are armed.


 

Q: What is that armored car used for that I see parked in the police parking lot? Does Beaverton Have a SWAT team?

A: The armored car is rarely used but could be deployed if we needed its armored skeleton to safely get close to a danger area (shots being fired). Beaverton does not have a SWAT team but does have members of this agency on the county wide Tactical Negotiations Team.


 

Q: What is the best way to report poorly performing (from a traffic flow perspective) signals in the city.

A: The best way to report an issue with traffic signals is to either call the traffic engineers at 503-526-2221 or the traffic hotline at 503-350-4009. You may also submit traffic complaints on their website.


 

Q: How does the BPD police the 2 hour parking restrictions downtown? I’ve never seen tickets or patrols. Do you only monitor if there is a complaint?

Community Service Officers make every attempt to enforce the 2 hour parking time limit throughout the city so we do monitor the area as we are available to do so. If there is a complaint, we respond to it in a timely manner.


 

Q: Are police officers exempted from the law? For example: parking in a “no parking” zone or fire lane when not on a call. How about using their flashing lights to get through a red light then turning them off?

A: As you know it is always difficult to determine how loaded a question is without “hearing” the person ask the question. With that being said, the question as I read it is actually several questions with a very general question being narrowed down to a very specific circumstance. The answer to the overall question is “Yes”.

ORS 820.300 provides the exemptions for Ambulances and Emergency Vehicles. Police vehicles fall under the umbrella of emergency vehicles. There is a substantial list of exemptions given to emergency vehicles. The thing to remember is an exemption to the law does not “relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle or ambulance from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all other persons”. There is a great deal of liability when the driver of an emergency vehicle exercises these exemptions.

The more specific portion of the question detailed “parking in a no parking zone or fire lane…”. ORS 820.300 specifically and clearly allows an emergency vehicle to “Park or stand in disregard of a statue, regulation or ordinance prohibiting that parking or standing”. The loaded portion of this question is of course “…when not on a call”. Can an officer exercise the exemptions when “not on a call”? ORS 820.320 (a) begins by stating the driver of an emergency vehicle must be responding to a call to exercise the exemptions.

Most people will stop reading there and declare the police cannot exercise the exemptions without being assigned to a specific “call”. That’s not the case and if you keep reading the subsection, you will find in the same paragraph of the statue: “The driver of an emergency vehicle may exercise the privileges granted under ORS 820.300 when in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law”. So an officer illegally parked on the sidewalk performing a traffic detail is more likely than not exercising the exemptions. A police officer that observes a violation up the street may activate the “flashing lights” to get through an intersection to catch up to a violator. Most police officers on duty are specifically looking for suspected violators or directly addressing violators.

Understand that these exemptions are not available all of the time. We have all heard the story about the Portland Police Officer that was parking illegally while on a coffee break. A coffee break was clearly not mentioned in the ORS and would not be protected under the discussed exemptions. Police officers are limited to the scope of their duties and most police officers fully recognize the liability associated with exercising the listed exemptions.


 

Q: Are all police officers referred to as officer or are their other titles? For example, if I meet a detective, should I greet him as officer or as detective?

A: It is appropriate to refer to uniformed officers as “Officer”, plain clothes detectives as “Detective”, striped supervisors as “Sergeant”, Single bar supervisors as “Lieutenant” and double bar supervisors as “Captain”.


 

Q: Does the BPD have any internship opportunities for high schoolers?

A: Unfortunately, the department does not have any opportunities for grade school students.


 

Q: When do you have to stop for pedestrians? I was driving down Hall Blvd at 40mph with cars ahead and behind when I notice a person wanting to cross at Cresmoor Dr. There is no crosswalk. Do I stop?

A: In this scenario you are stating that someone is on Hall and Cresmoor wanting to cross. According to the law (811.028: Failure to stop and remain stopped for pedestrian), this is called an unmarked crosswalk because it’s at an intersection but is not controlled by painted crosswalk lines or a pedestrian signal. Regardless of how many lanes of travel there are, if the pedestrian steps off the curb onto any part of the roadway including the bike lane and his/her intent, meaning trying to make eye contact with drivers, stepping more into the roadway, leaning forward as if they are intending to cross then traffic must stop and yield right of way. Most drivers don’t understand this law because there are not crosswalk lines or pedestrian signals to direct drivers but at any intersection even if it’s a “T” intersection with no markings traffic is required to yield. Hope this helps. I know it’s confusing and most driver’s aren’t fully aware of their duty to yield to pedestrians.


 

Q: How did/do the Beaverton Police Department choose the make and model for its patrol cars? Other cities seem to choose the same cars. Is it a nationally recommended decision or mandate?

A: Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge are the only national car companies that offer a “police” package in vehicles. As a department you decide what features mean the most to your agency and then test drive the cars/SUV. The budget process dictates the rest.


 

Q: How old is the youngest officer on the police force? The oldest?

A: The oldest Officer is 70 and the youngest is 25.


 

Q: How diverse is the BPD? How many women, Hispanic, Asian… etc.?

A: Of our 135 sworn Officers fifteen are female. Ethnicity- 1 Native American, 4 Asian, 1 African American, 1 Hispanic and 128 Caucasian.


 

Q: I thought I recognized a car involved in an accident the other day. Is there a way to see police reports of traffic accidents that happened in the past?

A: Requests for police reports of any kind, including traffic collisions, can be requested through the records division. Many, if not most, will be granted once they have been redacted and a fee has been paid. Personal information such as dates of birth, social security numbers, juvenile involvement and medical information will be removed to protect the innocent.


 

Q: I was driving down Hall Bvld when I saw a woman facing to cross at 2nd street. So I stopped. But she did not move. How long do I wait for her to make a move before proceeding?

A: You should stop to see if the pedestrian is going to cross per state law. If the person is not making eye contact with you or attempting to cross by stepping into the street from the curb then I would personally honk my horn and try to make eye contact and waive her on as though she is going to cross. If that doesn’t get her attention there is no law for the amount of time you have to wait only that you stopped and made an attempt to yield to the pedestrian. I would then proceed past her with caution and at a slow speed. You are not in violation if you make an attempt and the person is not paying attention.


 

Q: There was a guy at a crosswalk looking to cross the street and when I started to slow down, he waved me on. Could I get a ticket for not stopping?

A: If a pedestrian is waiting to cross but waives you to pass then you are not in violation. At that point he waives his right of way. I would pass in that instance unless he is standing in the roadway then I would motion for him to continue to cross while you wait.


 

Q: The other day my girlfriend was driving on a busy street when she heard a fire engine siren behind her. Cars started to pull over but she could not because other cars were in her way. She instead sped up to bypass the crowd before pulling over justifying the move by saying she is giving the fire engine more room to get through the congestion. What should she have done?

A: The legal answer is that a motorist is obligated to pull to the right and stop when approached from behind by an emergency vehicle displaying lights/siren. There are very few roadways where, if people are paying attention, that cannot be accomplished. When all else fails it’s probably best to “just get out of the way” and let the emergency service provider weave their way around you.


 

Q: Are Beaverton patrol officers required to write a certain number of tickets per month like some sort of ticket quota system?

A: Beaverton Police Department has no requirement to issue any citations in most situations. There is no quota or expectation of production for citations or arrests.


 

Q: What is the purpose of unmarked patrol cars? Is it so they can hide and give out tickets easier or do they have more important roles like investigating more serious crimes?

A: Our agency has only three unmarked patrol cars and they are all assigned to the traffic safety division. As a Traffic Safety Officer, I look for and seek out aggressive driving behavior as well as distracted driving (cell phone use). Most people will spot a marked patrol car at a great distance and quit their poor driving behavior only when the police car is nearby. By operating an unmarked car I can spot violators demonstrating unsafe behavior and assist them in making better driving decisions through enforcement.


 

Q What are the top 5 driving infractions here in Beaverton?

A: below are the top 5 citations and their corresponding # of citations written by Beaverton Police. (Not including photo enforcement)

1.       VIOLATING A SPEED LIMIT 11-20 MPH EXCESS 1698
2.       OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE USING MOBILE COMM DEVICE 1125
3.       DRIVING UNINSURED 1047
4.       DRIVING WHILE SUSPENDED (VIOLATION) 865
5.       PROHIBITED PLACE / NO PARKING ZONE 699

Q: I’m a student driver and when I was practicing with my grandfather, I accidentally knocked over several construction cones. It was Sunday so no one was around. My grandfather made me stop and pick them up. Is this okay or should we have just left them for the workers to fix in the morning? Cold I have gotten a ticket?

A: Not only could you have gotten a ticket, you potentially could have been arrested for Failure to Perform Duties of a Driver had you not taken reasonable steps to notify the owner of the cones. A citation could be written under the statute of Careless Driving for hitting the cones. Careless Driving is defined as driving in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger persons or property.


 

Q: How many motorcycles are there in the BPD fleet?

A: Beaverton Police Department operates 6 police motorcycles and employs 4 motorcycle officers. The extra motorcycles allow for repairs and maintenance to be performed without also impacting officer’s ability to do their jobs.

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