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Cab Abandoned at City Hall to Protest Rule Requiring Video Cameras in Portland Taxis

An unknown Portland taxi driver, angry over a likely City Council decision to double taxi license fees paid by drivers and require them to install video cameras in their taxis, abandoned his cab at the front door of City Hall overnight Wednesday. Around midnight, the man drove his cab over the curb onto the City Hall patio, left the lights and flashers on, locked the doors and walked away, stunning curious members of the Portland Peace Encampment across 4th Avenue who looked on.

About 170 of the city's 650 licensed cab drivers signed a petition against the fees and presented it to the city council during the Wednesday morning council meeting where the rule change was discussed. Four of the five council members, all except Dan Saltzman, said they would vote for the new rule following some minor changes. Commissioner Randy Leonard spearheaded the new law, inspired by a similar requirement in New York City and the recent murder of Portland cab driver Grigory Rogozhnikov.

Drivers who oppose the rule say the increased fees will be a huge economic burden in a poor economy where many drivers are already struggling to make a living. They also are worried about being watched and recorded while on duty and fear that members of the public will opt for other means of transportation to avoid being taped in cabs. Commissioner Saltzman worried that people such as drunk drivers will opt to drive when they might otherwise take a cab. [ Read More ]