The Keizer City Council should reject the call to allow tow trucks to be parked overnight in residential neighborhoods.

A proposal to allow tow trucks to be parked in front of the homes of drivers in the nighttime hours was presented to the council earlier this year by Jeff Asher, a co-owner of BC Towing. He explained that drivers need to have quick access to their rigs to respond to emergencies and tow calls. Few, if any,  tow company yards are accessible 24 hours, facilitating the need to park the trucks elsewhere. That elsewhere should not be Keizer’s quiet neighborhood streets.

Today’s tow trucks are big and noisy. If a big rig, especially a diesel, needs to make a run in the middle of the night, the process of starting it, revving it and rumbling on its way is more than annoying to an early-to-bed town like Keizer. Add the incessant beeping when in reverse, it is maddening to be woken from a sound sleep by such a behemoth.

Allowing tow trucks on residential streets, when other large rigs are not, makes them a protected class. That’s not what the city should be doing; what’s good for one is good for all. If this ordinance is passed it will open the door for all types of vehicles to ask for the same consideration. Anyone can state why they should have the same rights. Establishing a protected class can certainly lead to legal challenges; that’s something this city should never walk open-eyed into.

The answer to the issue is to do what large semi-trucks do: park at a central location. The Safeway grocery store in Keizer  has an agreement with truckers to part their long vehicles on an unimproved parcel of their parking lot. The tow companies should be encouraged to open dialogue with the owners of some of these lots to be used for reserve parking for the trucks.

If passed, it is doubtful that the city would see dozens of tow trucks of varying sizes parked on streets in our residential neighborhoods. Our streets are filled with pedestrians and children and they don’t need another obstacle to be wary of.

A quick response to a call is key to the towing industry, whether it is an accident or a violation tow. A central area where the trucks can be parked (Keizer Station? Schoolhouse Square? Keizer Civic Center?) will address both the response time issue and maintain the quality of Keizer’s desirable neighborhoods.

The city council should reject this idea and find another way to address the needs of the towing industry.