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Portland Files Suit Against Uber

Update 3:48 p.m.: The City of Portland announced that it has filed suit against rideshare company Uber on Monday. The city’s lawsuit says the company violated Portland’s Private for Hire Transportation Regulations and Administrative Rules.

“Our main concern is public health and safety, because the state invested in the cities the responsibility to do that,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales in a statement. “Beyond that, though, is the issue of fairness. Taxi cab companies follow rules on public health and safety. So do hotels and restaurants and construction companies and scores of other service providers. Because everyone agrees: good regulations make for a safer community. Uber disagrees, so we’re seeking a court injunction.”

The city also states that it is prepared to issue penalities against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits or inspection.

The City of Portland declined to penalize drivers working for rideshare company Uber, but officials say they’ve filed court orders against the company Monday.

The city issued a cease and desist order against Uber on Monday, and plans to issue further court orders later today, said Josh Alpert, spokesman for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Uber utilizes a smartphone app that people connect to their credit cards and can use to summon a driver to their location.

“We had asked Uber previously not to (start operating without approval) and that would certainly jeopardize the work we’ve been doing,” said Alpert on OPB’s Think Out Loud. “We expect every company to follow our law and do so legally.”

Uber spokeswoman Brooke Steger said the company’s drivers provided “thousands of rides” over the weekend. She said that providing further transportation options can cut back on drunk driving and wait times, as in other U.S. cities.

The rideshare company started operating in Portland at 5 p.m. Friday, even though none of its drivers had taxi service permits or inspections required by the city. Currently, city code requires a 60-minute advance reservation for non-taxis, such as town cars or vehicles operated by rideshare services. 

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