Setting The Record Straight On Portland's Tow Trucks And Oregon's Senate

Posted on April 26, 2012 by


Recently, a theme has developed in the Portland metro area regarding supposedly predatory tow truck drivers. It just so happens that the owner of a couple of these tow services, Gary Coe, is running as a Republican for Oregon Senate District 14. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the industry is being smeared, and Mr. Coe is being indirectly portrayed as an unscrupulous capitalist who preys on the poor and the weak. I wanted to get my story out in the public sphere to counteract these obviously coordinated and politically motivated smears.

I work nights. I work a lot of late nights. I work a lot of late nights, in bad weather, and I drive long distances away. I have been doing this for 12 years. Twice I have gotten stranded.

Last December, as I was coming off the I-205 at exit 23B in Portland, OR, I became dangerously stranded. If you know that exit, which I do intimately since I use it daily, you know that it is a ramp that puts you on a blind loop, meaning because it’s a loop, you can’t see very far in front of you. By the time you are at the top of the loop, you are at a light, facing the opposite direction as to where you started on the ramp. You’ve done a 180 degree blind half loop.

I took that ramp last December at around 11 pm at night, and in the middle of the loop, my car stopped running. Period. Oh did I mention? It’s on a slight incline too, so with what little momentum I had going forward was just enough to get me to pull over to the left where there was no shoulder, so I was at least not in the middle of the two lane ramp. It was 11 pm at night, dark, rainy and I am stuck on a ramp where oncoming drivers are doing 50 mph and are not expecting to see a stranded car in their immediate path and if they aren’t paying attention, they have very little reaction time.

I jump over the guard rail so that if my car gets obliterated, at least I won’t.

I start using my smart phone for what it is good at; getting me out of bad messes. I start looking up towing services. No one is answering.

I finally call Speed’s Towing. I should have called them first. The dispatcher had someone to my car in 10 minutes. The driver took me the five minutes I needed to get home. Then we had a decision to make, leave the car there or ask if he will continue the tow to our garage for repair. Driver dropped me off, husband hopped in; car is safely delivered to our garage. And to top it off, the driver brought my husband home right before midnight. The driver was thoughtful enough to realize, if I follow the tow truck to the garage with my husband in the cab, we will need to wake up the kids. He said, “Don’t do that, I’ll bring your husband back.”

In the half dozen or so times I have needed a tow in my life; I have never had such a friendly, helpful and kind driver who went way above and beyond the minimum requirements of a tow. Thank you to that young man who helped us in a very dangerous situation and made getting the car repaired so much easier.

I met Gary Coe recently at a political event and relayed my story of his driver. As soon as I said the exit, he knew exactly where I was talking about and understood the predicament I was in. I told him how much I appreciate his company and his company’s ethics.

Why do I endorse Gary Coe? I know he has been to Oregon’s legislature countless times advocating for small business owners. He also runs a business where it is obvious service starts from the top and reaches the bottom. It is exciting to think of this kind of service and concern in a state senator.