New year will bring county impound fee

The new year will bring added costs to have a vehicle released from the impound yard.

Beginning on Jan 1, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office will charge a $40 fee to cover staff time that is spent processing paperwork so owners can recover towed cars or trucks.

Charlotte Arnold, sheriff’s administrative assistant, said when vehicles are impounded for a criminal/traffic offense or because they have been abandoned it creates added work for the agency. Typically, Arnold said this includes looking up files on the computer and printing off a copy of the incident report, along with checking the validity of the driver’s license through law enforcement data banks.

“It is becoming the norm throughout the state to charge this fee because of the time involved in research to get a vehicle released,” said Arnold.

When a car or truck is impounded, the owner is required to bring proof of both registration and current insurance to the sheriff’s office along with a driver’s license. Once the agency verifies these documents and signs off on the release order, the vehicle can be recovered after the owner has settled up with the towing and storage company.

Prior to adopting the new administrative fee, Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler polled 16 other counties to learn what they charged for the same service. He said the average cost was between $50-$75 dollars, although it ranged as high as $100 in some areas. Wampler decided to institute the $40 fee as a middle ground.

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