PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt testified in support of a bill Thursday that would increase penalties for organized street racing.
Senate Bill 615 would increase penalties that were put in place by an ordinance passed by city commissioners in 2021 to make organized street racing and street takeovers a crime.
Currently, arrested street racers see 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. But despite the ordinance, Schmidt’s testimony said racing continues to be a problem in the city.
“Throughout the past several years, we have witnessed a disturbing increase in organized street racing and street takeover events,” Schmidt said. “These events are dangerous, disruptive to traffic and communities, and can pose a frequently lethal public safety threat.”
State Senator Chris Gorsek proposed SB 615 to include up to a year in prison, a $6,250 fine or both for those convicted of street racing. Drivers convicted a second time could spend up to five years in prison, pay a $125,000 fine or both.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office says it has also amended the law to include two changes: “extending criminal penalties to those who deliberately block intersections in order to facilitate street racing, and allowing for the use of criminal forfeiture against participating vehicles.”
Schmidt added that criminal forfeiture is a “tool that needs to be used with the utmost care.”
“But I believe that by targeting the vehicles that are specially designed to commit this crime, we will create the most powerful deterrent to this unacceptable behavior,” he said.