The Roseburg City Council will study what to do about ride-sharing companies such as Uber, which doesn’t want to operate in Roseburg without changes to the city’s taxicab ordinance.
The City Council asked for a study session Monday to examine the issue of ride-sharing companies.
The one exception was Councilor Ashley Hicks, who wanted the City Council to take the matter up Monday for a vote without a study session, noting that she thought it was what citizens want.
A testy exchange followed with Council President Tom Ryan telling Hicks that he would appreciate it if she ran for office on her own time, and Hicks responding by saying Ryan’s comment was inappropriate. Hicks has filed to run for Douglas County Commissioner.
Mayor Larry Rich supported the study session, saying at least City Council would have a starting point.
Other councilors agreed, noting the amount of information available.
“We’ve got to do this right,” Councilor Alison Eggers said.
The City Council could change its ordinance in a couple of ways to allow Uber. It could amend the taxicab ordinance section to allow ride-sharing companies. Or it could repeal the ordinance, and amend its general business registration ordinance to permit ride-share drivers and taxi companies to operate as independent contractors.
“It’s going to come down to what council wants to do,” City Recorder Sheila Cox said.
The study session would likely provide information on how other cities in Oregon are allowing Uber to operate including Medford, which recently agreed to allow Uber to operate. Uber is also picking up customers in Portland, Corvallis, Salem, Bend and Redmond, according to a city report.
Uber drivers also briefly gave rides in Roseburg until the company turned off its online app in Roseburg after the city of Roseburg sent a letter to the company last month advising of the city’s taxicab ordinance and its requirements, as well as possible fines if the ordinance was not being followed. Taxicab companies alerted the city that Uber was operating in the area.
City officials held a phone conference with Uber on Feb. 28. During the conference, the ride-sharing company made it clear it wanted the city to either repeal its current taxi regulations, or modernize them to allow the company’s operations, according to a city memo.
Uber drivers showed up at a City Council meeting last month to lobby the city to allow the ride-sharing service. A winery owner also thought it was a good idea. But a taxicab company manager opposed allowing Uber.
No date was set for the study session on Monday.