Beaverton, also known as TicketTown

Beaverton uses photo radar and red light cameras to issue tickets

Beaverton Officer Dave VanCleve pulled over this driver for speeding, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Beaverton Officer Dave VanCleve pulled over this driver for speeding, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Police in Beaverton are ticket-writing royalty, the kings and queens of pulling drivers over in the area. Other cities aren’t even close.

If you’re passing through Beaverton, you need to be on your best driving behavior. In 2010, Beaverton police wrote 14,958 tickets. That’s more than Gresham (9947), and twice as many as Hillsboro’s 7565 — even though the cities are about the same size.

The Beaverton Police Department unmanned red light cameras, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
The Beaverton Police Department unmanned red light cameras, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

Last year, Gresham police wrote 7614 tickets, Hillsboro 5959. Beaverton even beats the bigger cities of Eugene (13,148) and Salem (17,710).

In that same period, Beaverton wrote 19,319 tickets. That number doesn’t include tickets from Beaverton’s red light and photo radar cameras. If you add those in, Beaverton issued 32,850 tickets in 2013.

Portland also has both photo radar and red light cameras, yet Beaverton still issued 2.5 times more tickets than Portland in 2013, adjusted for population size.

Proposed change in the law

Lawmakers and voters might want to take a close look at what’s happening in Beaverton before they decide whether to embrace statewide unmanned photo radar.

The numbers may not be a surprise to Beaverton residents, but drivers from other cities should take note because of what State Rep. Jeff Reardon is proposing.

Beaverton’s photo radar vans are manned, as required under current law. But Reardon wants to change Oregon law to allow unmanned photo radar systems anywhere.

The Beaverton Police Department van with photo radar, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
The Beaverton Police Department van with photo radar, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

“We already have a lot of cameras out there so we’re not adding any more cameras,” Reardon said. “We’re just simply trying to find a cost effective, productive way to enforce the laws we have.”

In 2013, Beaverton’s two vans tallied 5853 tickets. If they were unmanned, they could work around-the-clock, like the red light cameras.

Even though drivers run red lights less often than they speed, the red light cameras generated more tickets — 7678 last year.

Beaverton is a safe city

Beaverton’s traffic unit thinks their ticket tally is a primary reason the city in 2013 was named the safest large city in Oregon.

Sgt. Steve Schaer with Beaverton’s traffic unit said he doesn’t think the number of tickets needs to be capped.

Beaverton Police Sgt. Steve Schaer, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Beaverton Police Sgt. Steve Schaer, October 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

“I think we go out and do our job and hopefully these education classes will get people to drive in a manner that won’t cause crashes,” Schaer said. “Those numbers will be going down because people will be following the rules of the road.”

Officer Dave VanCleve added, “Our courts do offer a diversion program. It’s an online class. If you’re eligible and opt for that program the citation does not go on your record.”

Schaer said the department has not talked about going to unmanned photo radar cameras if it becomes legal.

Injury crashes in Beaverton are down 40% at intersections with red light cameras, officials said.

The extra income generated from the photo radar and red light cameras allowed Beaverton to hire more traffic officers.

They have nine, while Gresham has six and Hillsboro has just four.

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