Effort to curb notorious speed trap advances in Oregon

| Monday, July 11, 2005

The Senate approved a bill Monday, July 11, intended to put a cap on one of Oregon’s most notorious speed traps.

Sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, the bill limits how much money the city of Coburg, a town of about 1,000 people north of Eugene, is allowed to generate through speeding fines on traffic along Interstate 5.

According to The Associated Press, the cap of 10 percent of the city’s general fund would cut the Williamette Valley town’s revenues by about $180,000.

Supporters of the bill – SB1074 – said Coburg relies too heavily on traffic fines to pay for city services compared to most cities.

A survey by the League of Oregon Cities, found traffic fines represented about 4 percent of the average Oregon town’s general fund, with only six of those cities relying on traffic fines for more than 10 percent of their general fund with one reaching as high as 16 percent, Prozanski told legislators prior to the chamber’s vote on the bill. In contrast, 25 percent of Coburg’s general fund comes from traffic fines.

“The lesson here is, don’t rely on operating an I-5 speed trap to fund your city services, because there’s a day when the people say you’ve squeezed this lemon just a little too hard,” Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, told The AP before the vote.

The bill now heads to the Assembly for further consideration. If approved there, it would go to Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s desk.