Uber and Lyft to be discussed Monday

{child_byline}MAX EGENER

The News-Review

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The City of Roseburg continues to take steps toward getting Uber or Lyft to come to town.

At the city council meeting Monday, city councilors will review changes to the city’s vehicle-for-hire ordinance. The changes mirror Medford’s vehicle-for-hire ordinance in an effort to encourage ride share services to come to Roseburg, according to City Recorder Amy Sowa. Uber and Lyft currently operate in Medford.

The city will also review changes to its background-check requirement ordinance to better align it with the other changes.

After the first reading of the changes Monday, City Council will be able to adopt them at its next meeting in February. The changes will take effect in March if the city adopts them, according to Sowa.

City Council President Tom Ryan said he expects councilors will vote to adopt the changes.

“Whether or not that will actually get them (Uber and Lyft) to come, I don’t know,” Ryan said.

After the city adopted an ordinance to allow ride share services to operate in Roseburg this spring, Uber and Lyft said they wouldn’t come. They primarily objected to the city’s background check requirements, which were more extensive than the companies’. Uber and Lyft consider themselves “second chance” companies — driver background checks extend seven years into the person’s past.

In November, City Council directed city staff to reinitiate discussions with the ride-share services to see what would allow them to come.

Lyft said the company would reconsider coming if the city removed its background-check requirements. Uber, however, said it would only come if Roseburg became part of the service area of either Eugene or Medford.

With the proposed changes, Uber would consider Roseburg as part of Medford’s service area, according to the City Council meeting agenda. Lyft would serve Roseburg as a stand-alone area.

Additionally, city councilors will review changes that make all required city background checks more like those of the ride share services — seven years in the past for both felonies and misdemeanors, with denial based on certain offenses such as sexual offenses.

Roseburg requires business owners to conduct background checks on employees of specific businesses, such as vehicles-for-hire drivers, marijuana dispensers and alarm agents. People can currently be denied for a felony offense committed at any point in their life.

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Max Egener can be reached at megener@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4217. Or follow him on Twitter @maxegener.

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City Reporter

Max Egener is the city reporter for The News-Review. He has a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and is an avid skier and backpacker.

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